Two of the most fascinating traits human beings share are the capacity for incredible change, and the fear of actually changing. In fact, most of us underestimate what we are capable of accomplishing in our lifetimes, and let our fears convince us that our wildest dreams are impractical, impossible, or just too scary to contemplate.
How amazing would it be – would YOU be – if you decided what you wanted to do this year, created a plan to get there, and then actually acted on that plan? Where might you find yourself one year from today?
I’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years, and have come to the conclusion that change is simple. It’s not easy, of course…it’s one of the hardest things in the world! But changing any aspect of your life comes down to doing just three little things.
I call this the “Triple A” approach to change, and you need to focus on each of these things in order to create impactful change in your life.
Awareness: Who are you? Where do you want to go? Before you can change you need to understand not just your desires, hopes and dreams, but also your foibles and limitations. You need to open your eyes and your heart to the truth of who you really are.
We live in a world of information overload. When trying to decide on the best career from an array of options, the quickest way to lose weight, or whether to stay in a particular relationship, it’s all too easy to get lost in the muck of details, drama, and diversions.
Changing your life requires you to get laser-focused on your desired outcome, and to be perfectly clear about what or who may get in your way. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. In fact, most of us have choosing between multiple options, especially when outcomes are not guaranteed. We’re also socialized from a very young age to take into account what pretty much everyone else wants, without considering what is truly important to us.
To change your life, you must get honest with yourself about your desired result, and commit to attaining your outcome even in the face of resistance.
Accountability: If you don’t own your choices and establish control over the decisions you make, you will limit your opportunity for growth.
Most of us protect our fragile egos by always seeing ourselves in the best light. We don’t eat too much, for example, we just have really slow metabolisms. We do great work, but our bosses don’t realize it. We give our all to relationships, but our spouses make everything so difficult. While this kind of thinking helps us feel better temporarily, protecting yourself in this way prevents you from changing because when you don’t control your choices, you can’t control your outcome.
It might be scary to realize you got yourself into whatever situation you’re now trying to get out of, but it’s also liberating. Remember, if it’s all your fault, it’s all your fix! (Tweet that!)
To change your life, you must take ownership over the choices you’ve made that landed you where you are, and stop blaming others for outcomes you don’t like.
Action: Remember when your high school science teacher taught you that “an object at rest tends to stay at rest?” It seems obvious, yet most of us approach change thinking we can defy the Laws of Physics. Being aware of what we want to change and being accountable for making the change is not enough. We still have to get ourselves into motion. And let’s face it, it isn’t always easy to get started.
Change can be exciting, wonderful, and refreshing….but it can also be scary, confusing – even boring. You might know exactly what you want and still have a tough time figuring out how to get from here to there. Just deciding on the first step can be overwhelming. Moving forward requires faith that somehow you’ll get closer to your desired result without tripping over your own feet.
Perhaps the hardest part of taking action is the fact that for some crazy reason, we’re wired to fear losing more than we desire winning. That’s right: you’re programmed to act based on what you might lose, not what you could gain. It’s amazing any of us get out of bed at all! But unless you shake off the covers and hop out of bed, you can’t land that job, lose that weight, or find that special someone.
To change your life, you must create an action plan…and then act on it!
So there you have it: the three little things that will change your life forever. What are you waiting for? Cheers to 2016, and all the change it has in store!