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.