If you are reading this, chances are either you or someone you know is involved in . This means that change is somewhere on your radar. Change can be a scary thing. We are indeed creatures of habit, where the inevitable act of doing something different and embracing change can make us feel nervous.
Alongside the inevitable act of change are the ritualistic questions: what is the change, how will you make this change, what will happen upon making this change, and how do you make it an everlasting act. The short answer is that change is a process that YOU are in charge of.
Motivation for change is usually ignited by distressing situations that interfere with feelings of stability and structure in an individual’s life. Many people come to therapy with some awareness of the distressing situation; the hard part is discovering which aspects of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors need to be different in order to make appropriate lifestyle changes. Discovering these things may occur through communication with your therapist; and oftentimes a stable support system is key to revealing underlying issues.
Once underlying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors have been recognized, contemplation and preparation of the changes occur; asking various questions about what we want and researching appropriate steps for the best outcome.
Research of the appropriate steps is then broken down into goals, which are not always concrete. Share your goals with others so that you become accountable, gain further support, and stay motivated. Journaling goals, visions, and process is another useful tool to help keep you motivated for the next stage: active change.
Actively changing, means you are directly engaged in practicing new behaviors in order to progress toward current goals. These practices will evolve into more structured and stable habits, eliminating side-tracked feelings. Be reasonable about timeframes for achieving your goals, always be patient with yourself during this process, and always celebrate your wins, you deserve it!
Maintaining the changes that occur can be difficult as well. To avoid any sense of side-tracking, continue to check-in with yourself and others, make necessary adjustments, and allow yourself time to reflect and for accomplishments to be celebrated. Remember, life is about progress not perfection!