3 Strategies for Making a Change in Your Life
by Liz Jansen
Ready to make this year’s resolutions stick?
How often have you wished to start something different? To do something that brings you a greater sense of meaning and purpose. That desire or idea comes up repeatedly, but you put it off, waiting for a better time. Maybe it’s taking up a new hobby; perhaps a new volunteer assignment. Maybe it’s even making a whole scale personal or professional change.
Years pass and that flame continues to burn within you. You know you’ve got so much more to offer but it’s not really so bad where you are now. Yet that desire won’t go away. These three strategies create a framework to get you there.
It’s a lot like planning a motorcycle trip!
Strategy # 1 – Stop and do a reality check
In order to map your route, you’ve got to know your destination and your starting point. What happens in between is the stuff adventures are made of.
Start by writing out your destination. Step back and envision where you want to be or what you want to do. Articulate your dream as specifically as you can. Sometimes this takes a few attempts until it really crystallizes, so keep at it. The clearer you are, the better your chances of getting there.
Then do the same with where you are now. When you’re planning a trip, it’s easy to be very specific with where you are geographically. Emotions, false beliefs and ingrained behavior patterns complicate this process when assessing your life situation.
Make a list of your strengths and the resources that are available to you, as they pertain to where you want to go. Then add the challenges and potential roadblocks that could create a detour. Be objective and don’t be afraid to blow your own horn.
Write down just the facts. Challenge your assumptions and make sure you’re being objective. This in itself is a challenge and you may want to get feedback from others whose opinion you value. List the pertinent facts that apply to both your current position and your dream, including relevant education, finances, relationships and experiences.
Women are nurturers and tend to put the needs of others before their own. In fact, you have more capacity for others when you care for yourself first. If you’re depleted, there is nothing to give.
Strategy # 2 – Create an Action Plan
Now that you’ve identified your current location and your destination, you want to figure out how you’re going to get there. Fears that have stirred during the first strategy may come to life now as you show you’re serious about making a change.
Fear alerts you to danger. It also prevents you from moving ahead when you want to make a change. If there is no real physical or emotional danger, the fear you’re feeling is based on myths and old belief patterns that are hanging on. Recognizing these old tapes that are playing takes persistence, patience and dedicated time for reflection and introspection.
List the steps you’re going to take to reach your destination. If you were planning a motorcycle trip, you’d list things like how far you needed to travel in a day, where you wanted to stop along the way, your budget and where you’d need to stop for routine motorcycle maintenance.
Now you’ll list the resources you’ll need, including financial, any skills, knowledge and experience you want to acquire. Maybe there are people who are doing what you want to do and you’d like to speak with them about how they did it. Write that down too.
It’s likely that you will have a series of major action steps with subheadings under some of those. Write them out in the order they need to occur, complete with timelines. This imprints it in your subconscious, makes it real and creates momentum. You’re already well on your way!
Strategy # 3 – Go!
Even after all of my miles of solo travel, I still have to give myself a push to get out of the driveway. Once I’m on the road though, there’s a whole different energy I feel. And it’s wonderful!
This is where your fears can really give you a run for your money. They’re getting desperate because you’re not paying attention and they’ll throw all kinds of red flags your way. Dissipate their energy by acknowledging their existence. Recognize them for what they are, knowing they’re only trying to protect you as you go through this growth stage. Keep moving towards your dream.
Just as when you ride your motorcycle, you’re in control. No one else has their hand on the throttle. No one else can shift gears for you. It’s all up to you and the choices you make.
Follow the map you laid out for yourself. Just as when you’re traveling on your motorcycle, you may encounter patches of rough road or areas of construction. If so, take the new information into account and adjust your action plans accordingly.
There’s a feeling of empowerment that happens when you sit on your motorcycle and prepare to take off. Work from this same place of empowerment as you take off towards your dream. Each step you take builds success, which in turn releases more positive energy to get you down the road.
Look back periodically to see how far you’ve come. Celebrate your achievements and relax into the ride!
If you’re serious about making sustainable change, check out the 7-week online Live Your Dream project starting January 22nd. Register by January 10 and save $100.