Change is exciting. Change is dangerous. Change takes time. Change is scary. Change requires strength. And change takes bravery. Change is a whole lot of different adjectives. And it is a very loaded word for many people. Some say they crave change while others say they absolutely hate it. Part of the complexity of change is that some change is self-initiated and probably sought after—even if it is hard to accomplish—while other change is foisted upon us when we don’t want it. Setting aside for a moment the change that you don’t welcome, let’s explore how to increase your ability to bring on changes in your life that you want.
Fostering changes you want in your life.
Why should you want to make changes in your life? Changes that make your life more rich, meaningful and joyful are always a good idea. Maybe you are seeking new relationships. Perhaps you want to start a new career. Possibly you want to nurture your more artistic side. Or it might be new heath goals or a new living environment. I suspect there are some changes that you have wanted to make for years, but have neglected because you are too busy or just too fearful of the steps or even the final outcome to move forward. Yet you know deep inside that you want to make some changes. But you’re scared.
Why is change daunting? Well, for most people—even those who appear very confidant—change brings you into unknown territories. Unknown experiences in life, though exciting, are usually fraught with uncertainty and unknown feelings that may be associated with the new experiences. Unknown means that you might not have control. And a huge reason people don’t make changes is they are boxed in by what they think they are “supposed to do.” Worst of all, the thought “What will people say?” is enough to scare most otherwise reasonable humans away from change.
So how do you make changes that you really want and cultivate braveness along the way? Here are some ideas to help you move towards your soul’s dreams rather than doing what others expect of you.
Practice these approaches to getting comfortable with making constructive changes to your life.
- Acknowledge where you are—positives and negatives. Before deciding to make some changes in your life, it is a good idea to assess where you are right now. What’s working really well in your life? Honor and celebrate all that is amazing about your life right now. Don’t immediately jump into what’s wrong about your life. In fact it is often what is already great about your life that prompts you to want more of it. Maybe you absolutely love where you live. How can you amp it up and make it even more wonderful? That could mean your actual house or apartment, but it can also mean your community and friends. What would make it even better? Then explore areas in your life where you are not satisfied. Perhaps you are not very happy with your job or training. Maybe it’s time to explore new careers, new employment or even more education.
- Get to know yourself. The more you understand what brings up fear in yourself and what inspires you—the better you know thyself—the easier it will be to implement change. What are your trigger points? Are there certain people who make you loose your confidence? Stay away from them. Do you find that mornings or afternoons or evenings are the best time for success in trying new things? Schedule accordingly. Do you prefer not to look before you leap or would you rather plan out the details? Try what works best for you and only you.
- Give yourself the freedom to dream. Thanks to Laurel and Wes Bleadon-Maffei, I am reminded that dreaming should be welcomed at all times in your life. Consider the wonderful benefits of daydreaming—you can go anywhere in your mind and play with a change before actually making a change. Daydreaming about possibilities is a wonderful way to get inspired, get ideas and free your creativity. Let yourself dream and see what ideas for change emerge.
- Be yourself. Don’t pretend—be yourself. Again a nod to Wes and Laurel who recently reminded me of the importance of staying true to yourself. Don’t make changes for anybody but yourself. Listen to your gut and consider changes that are aligned with who you are at your core. In all likelihood, a change won’t happen or won’t stick if it isn’t natural for you. So why fight against your true nature when it is easier and better in the long run to just be yourself?
- Clarify what you want and set goals. This is a big step. Sign up here for my mailing list and get your free “Big Picture Guide” that details steps for creating a plan with clear goals. The gist is that the clearer you are about what you want to change, the easier it is to set up steps to making that change. Most change doesn’t happen overnight so give it the time and energy it deserves.
- Foster your winning positive inner voice and ignore your negative inner voice. We all have a nasty inner voice that says mean things to us far too often—some call it a gremlin. But we also have a wonderful angelic inner voice who sees us for the really beautiful and brilliant people we are. Practice telling your negative gremlin to take a hike and practice believing in yourself just as your inner angel does. In fact I highly recommend you name your inner voices. Maybe your negative voice is “Negative Nelly” and your positive voice is “Beautiful Betty.” Let Betty tell Nelly a thing or two about where she should go.
- Practice saying it out loud. If you are making a change that gives you big fear around what others will say, or that your negative voice tells you that you can’t possibly accomplish, practice saying it aloud. For instance, if you want to write a book, say aloud to anyone and everyone and to yourself that you are a writer working on a book! Saying it aloud starts making the change true and it also greases the wheel. By saying something aloud, you are giving your change a chance to be helped by others. You never know who might be able to help you on your path. And if you keep it a secret, you aren’t giving the power to your change that it deserves. The first time you say it requires bravery so that’s why I suggest you practice saying it aloud to yourself. Once you try it out on others, they will tell you that you are being brave. And you are!
- Ignore what others say.
- Ignore what others say. Yes, I said that one twice because often the scariest aspect of making changes to your life is fearing what others will think about you. You keep the status quo because you are pretty sure that some people will judge you for your change. And you know what, they might. So ignore what others have to say, unless they are supporting you. When you find the ones who support you, keep them around and ditch the naysayers. If you can’t ditch the naysayers you can still just ignore them! I know this is probably the hardest part of certain change, but practice makes perfect.
Is change always the right thing?
Although I have devoted much space to helping you to gear up to make changes, remember that change isn’t always the right step. Sometimes where you are is absolutely the perfect place to be at this time. And when I say where you are, I mean, physically, mentally, spiritually—in all ways. Change isn’t always the best thing to do. In fact, change for change sake isn’t a good reason to make changes. Making changes to what you do in your life is a way to get more of what you want and need in your life and less of what doesn’t serve you. If you are in a good place, celebrate it and stay there—until you want to change or change is forced upon you. And yes, change is indeed inevitable. Sometimes change happens that is not what you expected or wanted. Just remember that you are brave and capable of handling everything that life serves up. And because change is rampant, when you aren’t in a good place, know that it will indeed change again.
You have the innate capability and bravery to initiate changes on your own that you really want. So practice embracing change to bring in new spirit and aliveness to your life. Decide now what you want to change and be bold and brave and go for it!