Editor’s Note: I’m delighted to share a guest post today from the brilliant Sandi Amorim and an opportunity to receive a free spot in her new program the 100 Day Promise.
That’s what I asked myself the past few months as I explored the process of change. Because change is what most people want, and whether or not we admit it, most of us have a list of things we’d like to change about ourselves.
The problem with change isn’t that we want to change. Change is natural and inevitable; nothing in life is static.
“Every single thing changes and is changing always in this world.” – Saigyo
The problem with change is that we beat ourselves up when we fail to change in the way we envision. And we do it so often it becomes a cycle that creates the future; an endless loop of disappointment and self-recrimination.
When we really want to make a change, but feel defeated before we begin, is it possible to reach our goal?
Doubtful, as the vicious cycle is too entrenched, and the negative feelings too strong, in spite of the fact that there may still be a strong desire to change.
But a truth that isn’t often spoken is that desire itself is not enough.
Think of all the times you attempted to change. You really wanted to, didn’t you?
Think of the promises you’ve made to yourself. How many of those promises were kept? How many successful?
Instead of judging ourselves harshly for failing to change, let’s examine a few common beliefs about change that make it that much harder.
Fact or Fiction?
Fiction: It takes 21 days to change a habit.
Fact: It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, with the average length of time to successfully form a habit coming in at 66 days.
Fiction: All you need is a desire to change.
Fact: A desire to change is essential, but it’s only one of the steps in the process. It has to be accompanied by readiness, and a willingness to act.
Fiction: Once we take action, change should be quick and long-lasting.
Fact: Change is a process, not a one-time event. The most effective coaching or therapy takes this into consideration, and encourages the development of a sustainable practice.
Fiction: If it hasn’t worked, you don’t really want to change.
Fact: Successful change includes slipping back into old behaviors as part of its process, and considers it an opportunity to grow and move forward.
So many debilitating beliefs that keep us from being our best selves, and isn’t that what our desire for change is about?
When we’re inspired to change and make a promise to ourselves, that promise comes from a real and true intention.
In You Can Beat Stress with Mindfulness, Sandra wrote, “Mindfulness means being aware in the present moment, disentangled from thoughts or emotions about the past or future.”
Everyone has the capacity to be mindful, and the same applies to the process of change. We all have the capacity to change, and we’re not always mindful of how we create change.
An obvious but often overlooked truth is that to change a behavior, we first need to catch ourselves doing it. The problem is that we don’t often catch it, and if we do, we judge ourselves harshly for doing it, once again entangling ourselves in our thoughts, and limiting beliefs from the past.
Do the Work
The world of personal development offers a vast array of solutions for any problem, or desired change. Like many, I’ve read the books, taken the programs and workshops, and still been disappointed by the outcomes.
What happens after you’ve read the book, or come home from a weekend workshop?
The high usually dissipates within a few days, and we’re left, once again to our own devices, which almost certainly lead back to past behaviors.
What’s missing is implementation.
implement – verb
: to carry out; put into action
From 17th century Latin, implementum: to complete, satisfy, fulfill
How often do we look outside of ourselves for this experience?
We mistakenly place the responsibility for change with the book or workshop leader. Or we believe that working with a coach or therapist is the solution, as if the magic happens in the sessions. We give up our power in doing so, forgetting that transformation – true change – happens in between sessions, when we’re doing the work of implementation and taking a promise or commitment to completion.
The work of implementation is ongoing, and can sometimes seem boring, or repetitive. Instead of resisting, or using it as an excuse to quit, it’s important to develop personal practices. When we discover the right practices, routine becomes ritual, and boring turns into devotion. This is where and how we tap into our best, most resourceful states.
Whether we call it spirit, a higher power, or God, when we’re connected to this energy the work of implementation leads us to profound state changes.
When our fears are stripped away and we really see what we want for ourselves and why, we restore our capacity to make new promises and keep them. We become more willing to do the work that’s involved, and that paves the way to ‘get there from here’.
It’s challenging to do this work alone. In my experience, it’s more effective when done in community where we see ourselves in others. The compassion we generously give to others is reflected back to us, and that glimpse of our humanity helps us stay true to what we want.
When that happens, ‘getting there’ becomes much less important than the experience of the journey.
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson
A Free Spot in the 100 Day Promise
Do you have a promise you would like to make to yourself, but need support to get there from here? Sandi is offering one free spot in her new program the 100 Day Promise to my readers – an amazing opportunity in my view.
To participate, leave a comment on this post and tell us why (or how) you’d be interested in being part of the 100 Day Promise no later than June 16th. If you’re reading by e-mail or e-reader, click here to comment. I’ll select one name at random to receive the free spot.
Breaking down the walls between you and your freedom is her passion; a passion she directs with all of her ferocious heart at SandiAmorim.com, and in her new program OneHundredDayPromise.com. The journey begins June 19th.
Thank you for the gift of your time and attention. If this post touched you, please share it with others. Many thanks!