Can I Really Change?

by Bill Mansell on June 23, 2010 | One Minute Motivators

Self Improvement is all about changing--identifying things that we would like to be different in our lives, then taking action to effect the changes. But, if you’re like me, you’ve tried changing some things in the past and found yourself slipping back into old habits. It can make us wonder if lasting change is really possible. I’m here to assure you, it is!

In most cases, change is a process, it is not an event. How often have you said to yourself, "I’m going to think only positive thoughts from now on" or "I’ve got to lose this weight, I’ll only eat vegetables from now on" or "I’m going to stop watching TV" and on and on. Then, just a few minutes later, you realize you’ve broken your resolution. When this happens, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel that change is impossible. It’s not enough to just want to change or even to decide to change. Too often we expect that this will be enough, but these are just the first steps in the process.

Old habits do not readily let go just because we decided to change. Real change takes consistent effort, time, and determination. It often involves some discomfort as we move out of our comfort zone. Change produces withdrawal pains. Those who are able to produce real change have learned to expect this and to prepare to take on the struggle.

In order to keep from slipping back into our comfort zone, we must keep the pressure up every day for a sufficient period of time. For example, if you are trying to change negative thought patterns and become a more upbeat, optimistic person, it may seem daunting to say, "for the next 21 days I will never have a negative thought." But, we can do it for an hour or a day at a time. An old saying says, "By the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch." A little at a time, inch by inch, day by day, it's possible. If we can keep up this consistent, daily effort for at least 21 days, we have a great chance of making the new habit stick. Once this happens, we have created lasting change.

Why is there a picture of coins with this article? A pocket full of change can be a great reminder of how we effect real change in our lives. How do you get change when making a purchase? You pay for your purchase with more money than is required. You never get change unless you first give something of greater value. Life change is the same. We have to put out extra energy and effort, more than would normally be required, until real change happens.

Success Tip: Lasting change takes consistent effort, time, and determination. Anticipate that it will be difficult and pour extra effort and energy into it. Take it a day at a time for 21 days.

Bill Mansell is president of MindPerk, Inc., one of the web's largest resources for self improvement and business training. A dynamic speaker and success coach, Bill is the author of a weekly blog titled, One Minute Motivators. Bill helps companies and organizations inspire and motivate their team members to consistently achieve more. His contagious enthusiasm has helped people from all walks of life to reach and exceed their goals.

has 149 articles on MindPerk.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

M Kedro May 27, 2011

Very well written information. Keep up the nice work!


rachat de credit December 16, 2010

Really an eye opener for me.

– Robson


Gregg December 9, 2010

Great, I found what I’ve been looking for. Thanks for the encouragement.


forex megadroid December 2, 2010

Thank you for posting this, it was quite helpful and told a lot


Pinny Ziegler June 25, 2010

Short and sweet, well written, advice like this one is needed in a society like ours that we are used to instant gratification.


Eddie M June 24, 2010

I think you’ve got something (to say) there. I often want change to happen NOW and I look at other people also and wonder if they are ever going to “do” what they really want to do (change in occupation). But I realize more after reading your article to give myself and them more leeway. Whereas I believe that the God within us can create a different person at any time, He does seem to work on a time schedule. It even talks about that (specifically) in the Bible. So maybe there is something to that giving YOURSELF some leeway, acceptance, and some compassion!

Back to the change (coins) thing, I think what you are saying also (from the good comments above) is that you have to give alot and you may fall back a bit, BUT you will be different than you were when you began.

Like Jenny said, good, timely article for those who read it. :-)


Darrick June 23, 2010

You must give to receive


Verne Morse June 23, 2010

I have found that before you can make a change in your life, you have to begin by liking yourself and seeing yourself as other see you. It took me 94 years to make a decision about liking myself enough to admit that there is another side of the coin that I must consider before I can come to a conclusion.
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Jenny June 23, 2010

I will never look at my pocket change in the same way again! Today’s article came at the perfect time for me. Instant change is talked about so frequently that every time I flub up I decide that it’s too hard and just stop trying. This article has given me the motivation to press forward and keep trying…or as Winston Churchill says “Never give up!” I appreciate your insight.
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