Why don’t people make the changes that they really want? What keeps us so stagnant? I think about all the times I’ve wanted to make some changes in my life; organization, health choices, spiritual growth commitments, family time, spending less/saving more, less TV/more reading (do I need to continue?). Every one of those changes is something that I have wanted, even needed. Why then is it so hard to implement these kind of changes? W. Clement Stone said it best, “The reason that so few people are successful is that no one has yet found a way for someone to sit down and slide uphill.”
Our inclination is to let things slide. Naturally, it’s what we want. It’s just physics. It’s gravity. Everything wants to move downhill. The Slinky doesn’t naturally go “UPSTAIRS, alone or in pairs”. Neither do we. We drift. Downhill.
If we’re doomed to drift, what can be done?
1. Resolve – Don’t underestimate the power of will. If you’re going to make a change, it starts with a STRONG determination that you’ll accomplish the change.
2. Plan – Those who seek to climb the worlds highest mountains don’t do it without a great deal of planning first. They don’t just toss some gear in a back pack and head up K-2. No, they resource, research, prepare and plan. They set goals, they create plans that make achieving those goals most likely, then they execute those plans. We need plans to climb our mountains too. Gather your resources, set goals, create a plan and do whatever you can then to execute it!
3. Community – It’s amazing how much more success people have when they have some accountability to make the change. People lose more weight when they exercise with a friend. People quit smoking more often when they have a support group. People are more likely to try new genres when they are with a book club. Whatever change you are making, going it alone makes it more likely to fail. By the way, connecting with a coach, who by nature is an ‘expert’ on making change, makes success more likely.
4. Permission – Success in any change requires some ‘special permissions’. Some things that help your mindset KNOW that your change is going to happen. When I made the leap into coaching, I gave myself ‘permission’ to tell someone every day that I am now a coach. This changed my mindset about my profession and made my changes more likely.
5. Celebration – Think about all of the effort, planning and collaboration that is required to make ANY sort of significant life change. Think about how we are SO much more prone to drift down hill than to climb the mountain. With those considerations, doesn’t it make sense to celebrate when you have some success? For instance, maybe exercise is your goal; after you’ve completed a month of regular exercise, reward yourself with something that will cultivate future success (maybe some new running shoes).
So go ahead, fight gravity, stop the drift and take on the change you want!
Big Question(s): What change are you wanting to tackle? Which steps are easiest and which are most challenging for you to implement (resolve, plan, community, permission, or celebration)?