Ten Strategies To Embrace Change

A new year, a new you: The attraction of reinvention is understandably alluring.

But what if the “old you” wasn’t so bad?

Change Ahead
Image: Stuart Miles | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fickle change is fine, but meaningful change is usually more of a process of day-to-day refinement. Let’s take a look at what it takes to create, carry out, and maintain meaningful change.

Imagine you are holding an elastic band. There is a picture of a sunny, warm Hawaii taped to the wall in front of you. You stand. You want to shoot the elastic at Hawaii. And now you’re ready to shoot the elastic at Hawaii.

You pull the elastic backward, creating necessary tension and—here’s the critical part—only in pulling back and letting go, can you launch the elastic forward. Newton’s third law of motion holds as true for elastic bands as it does for life.

In moving forward it is necessary to leave something behind.

If we want to launch far and forward, we must look back in order to inform our reality in the present.

Major and minor life changes are rarely easy. These ten strategies are a catalyst for deeper conversations with yourself and with those who know best about what you want. The hope is to narrow the gap between who you are now and who you want to be.

1.  START WITH “WHY” 

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, suggests all behaviour is driven by our limbic brains and rationalized by our neocortex. In essence, emotion drives behaviour stronger than thought.

When a problem exists, try to work out why it exists. Doing this will allow you to see barriers and will help clarify the source of frustration, fear, or disappointment.

Answering why you want to change will provide the necessary clarity, focus, and motivation to accomplish your goals.

2.  CLARIFY THOUGHTS, BELIEFS, and IDEAS 

Before you can change your future, you must be brutally honest about your present. Knowing why you want ____ is as important as knowing what thoughts, beliefs and ideas have previously prevented you from getting _____.

What beliefs, thoughts, and ideas have reinforced your patterns of behaviour in the past? Would changing or letting go of those beliefs, thoughts, and ideas help you get to where you want to go?

3.  SET REALISTIC and ACHIEVABLE GOALS 

When approaching change, psychologist Mira Kirshenbaum asks two questions: Are you able to change? And are you willing to change?

SMART goals are a mnemonic acronym that can help shape goals into achievable objectives. Is your goal Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related?

4.  TAKE ACTION 

You’ve completed the necessary preparation; now it’s time to try it out.

5.  PLANT MANY SEEDS 

While we may not be able to accurately predict the details of our future, we can remain active in areas where possibility exists.

6.  SNOWBALL YOUR BEHAVIOURS TO SUCCESS 

The key is to approach change from an incremental perspective and do many small actions over time. By creating little victories you accumulate momentum. Increasing the time, difficulty, or complexity of your daily actions will naturally result in small changes growing into bigger changes.

7.  EXPECT BARRIERS and SETBACKS 

New behaviours and incremental change is imperative to avoiding inertia because our brains are hardwired to react to the present. Given our limitations in energy, time, and resources each day, sometimes putting out fires takes precedence over long-term goals. To keep morale high and maintain motivation, seek ways to track your successes as you go.

8.  PAY ATTENTION TO REINFORCING FACTORS 

What and who will support you in moving toward your goal? Using an application that tracks your progress, logging your daily accomplishments, or staying in touch with a friend can reinforce the hard work you’re doing in forging this new path forward.

9.  CONTINUALLY REASSESS and EVALUATE 

  • How is this going for you?
  • Do you still like or want the goal that you initially set out for yourself?
  • What’s not working well?
  • What’s working well?

10.  CELEBRATE PERSONAL WINS 

When we successfully accomplish what we set out to achieve, we feel good because we’re rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, self-worth, and satisfaction. Whether it’s a step towards your goal today, or the attainment of the goal itself, celebrate both your small and big personal wins.

You’ve looked back and know why you want to change.

You are committed to doing the hard work and persevering when setbacks arise. And here’s the critical part: if you’re ready to let go and launch in the direction you want, you just might hit your mark.


Article by Yiely Ho

Yiely Ho
MA in Leadership Student, RRU

NYE: A Catalyst To Create An Effectual, Rewarding Life?

Think Big Dream Bigger

 

It’s New Year’s Eve and you’re making plans for the “special occasion”.

Would you rather attend an expensive, crowded soirée, only to find yourself regurgitating your party fare into a Porcelain God the next day, while worrying about what you might have said or done in the midst of your drunken stupor? Or, would you rather spend the night in a quiet and relaxing environment, determining how you want to live for the next 365 days, and then wake up feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to tackle the world?

Why do so many people choose the first option?

Is it to commemorate our ability to survive another year of living in a world full of violence, abuse, political corruption, poverty, injustice, and discrimination—to name a few? Or, is it just another excuse to let loose and blow off steam with friends?

Legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote, Buy the ticket, take the ride.” If we are afraid to embrace positive people and experiences in our life, then we are actively choosing a “ride” of acceptance; we remain complacent with the unsatisfactory life that we have and believe we deserve. On the other hand, if we spend time with people we care about and set clear goals for ourselves, then we are more likely to achieve the “ride,” and life, that we truly desire. In short, we get back what we put in.

As the CEO of my life, I choose the latter.

Despite there being a lot of wrong in the world, I’ve decided to focus on what’s right, and more importantly, do what I can to create positive change through community work. Having overcome poverty and horrific trauma, I find it especially empowering to make a fresh start each year with a clear plan for success. Undoubtedly, my resilience, ambition, and ability to focus have played a significant role in any success that I have achieved over the years. However, I believe that my annual New Year’s Eve ritual has played a huge role in ensuring that my goals were aligned with the person I was at the time, and who I aspired to be.

So, while people are busy drinking and having fun, I spend quality time on my own on this momentous night, reflecting and journaling about the year that is drawing near, by documenting my successes, challenges, key learnings, and even regrets.

To create my SMART goals for the next twelve months, I ask myself the following important questions:

  • What do I want?
  • Why do I want it?
  • What possible barriers can get in my way?
  • What tools do I have to overcome these barriers?

This magical process is simple, really.

I create ambiance by filling a dimly lit room with a dozen candles and make space for my favorite pen and a beautiful new notebook, which is used to plan and curate my dreams that evening, and throughout the coming year.

If you haven’t guessed it, I LOVE New Year’s Eve because it’s an ideal time to reaffirm and reinvent myself. Sure, I can do this at any time of the year, but I find the symbolic freshness of embarking on a new year to be a great motivator for change. If we are fortunate to be already living the life that we truly want, it’s also the perfect time to celebrate and practice gratitude.

That, my friends, is why New Year’s Eve is the perfect impetus for embarking on a life-changing transformation!


Article by Christine Morrell
BAPC Distant Ed. Student