I believe you want to change for the better. I can help you with that. It doesn’t matter what you want to change or whether it is related to business, relationships, communication, learning, addictions, or physical or mental health. The reason it doesn’t matter is that the way anyone changes is all the same at its roots. Keep reading if you want to understand how to change as well as what typically stops you from changing. Today is the first post in a series that will help in your understanding.
There has been a lot of quality research executed to discover the similarities between anyone who has changed something in her or his life. Here is what the research shows (and I have personally seen from helping hundreds of people begin to change behaviors and reach goals they have previously struggled to reach). There are basically 6 stages that you go through in order to completely change any behavior and for each stage of change you need to take different actions and receive different support from others. For the next few weeks I will be going through each and every stage of change and help you step by step so that you can begin working toward change with confidence and move past hurdles you have struggled with before.
Today I will simply provide an overview of what the change process looks like and I’ll give you an example from my own life. I had a girlfriend when I was just finishing up high school. While some people around me, including some of my family members, told me they thought this relationships wasn’t a really good fit… do you think I listened? Not a chance. I was emotionally attached to another human being and we all make decisions primarily with our emotions. I had committed to a certain way of thinking and behaving and it wasn’t going to change without some help. Well, that help came in multiple ways. Over a few months’ time there were, or should have been, some big red flags in our relationship and the way she interacted with other people that I ended up ignoring (I’ll tell you why in my next post). It wasn’t until she told me that she had been cheating on me with another guy that I finally woke up and realized I needed to do something. We had some conversations and I did some deep thinking and I made the choice to break up with her. This entire process was not convenient, fun, or enjoyable in any way, but it needed to happen and I needed to learn some lessons in the process. I can think of two girlfriends I had after that time where similar things happened. Was it that these girls were an evil in some way or that I simply had bad luck? No, all of these individuals were good people and I don’t believe in luck… we make our own luck over the long term. The problem was that I needed to learn more about myself and change how I was relating to another person when in an emotionally intimate relationship. I received the same lesson over and over until I learned what I needed to learn. Eventually I did learn what I needed. I made the changes in life I needed to make and relate to people very differently in my life because of these lessons. This happened when I began to forgive these other people and realize that there wasn’t something wrong with who I was, but rather that certain habit, patterns, and beliefs weren’t getting me what I wanted in life. Along this journey I had some help from others and I came to a place where I was willing to listen and learn from them. I also learned needed skills to get what I wanted.
I have been happily married for 10 years now and am so grateful that I learned some important lessons with earlier relationships that put me in a place to completely give of myself and receive so much of someone else in a mutually respectful and engaged relationship. I am thankful that I am better able to help my own two children by showing them what a great relationship can look like as they grow and learn over the next couple of decades.
I want to point out some important aspects in the story I just shared:
I needed a lot of time and multiple painful failures to begin learning what I needed to learn. It isn’t that I wanted more of these experiences. I needed them. Change is not about simply wanting something different. There’s more to it.
2. At first, I had no idea that there was anything wrong or problematic with myself. I was blaming these other people. I had to learn that I had control over these situations that I was getting myself into.
3. Change wasn’t fun, but it was needed and I am grateful for it when I look back.
4. This whole process had nothing to do with good or bad people (either myself or the girlfriends I had). Change isn’t a character thing. The sooner you realize there isn’t something deficient in who you are as a person, the quicker you will actually see the change in your life you so desperately want.
I am so excited about getting into this with you over the next few weeks. There is so much useful information in learning how people change and, as I share each step in details, you are going to see exactly where you are in this process in various areas of life and will have practical tips on how to get to the next stage so that you learn what you need to realize the good life!