This has been an interesting week – I was interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor, SheKnows.com and Opposing Views about Charlie Sheen and his behavior. In addition, today I had a conversation with a woman who is writing a blog on how we can make change stick.
We were discussing the fact that most people get to this point in the year, early March, having excitedly made their New Year’s resolutions about 8 weeks ago and realizing that they haven’t made the change they were hoping to have. We get to this point and start feeling like “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I ever make a shift? Why don’t I do what I want to do?” We feel like failures and then go back to our old ways of doing things.
Most of the time we desire to change – as Charlie Sheen for example may or may not want to, right now! – we are motivated and believe we are committed, but maybe we aren’t really focused on where we want to go. We know that where we are isn’t good, but we’re not sure about the next place we need to be. This happens to many of us when we are under stressful conditions in our workplace or home life and all we know is, we want to get away from where we are!
There are two reasons we make a shift happen – we either want to move away from the place we’re in, or we want to move toward a new place and new situation. The problem is that when we are looking to get away, to flee from our current undesirable state, we sometimes don’t know what that “greener grass” looks like on the other side. We make a move, but then we find ourselves stuck because we don’t really know where we are going – or fear what it will look like when we get there.
Understanding ourselves and what really matters to us is key in any change process. Why am I making this move now? What do I care about? What would success look like to me? How will I know when I have reached my desired outcome? How will I feel? What will be happening there?
Doing for the sake of doing isn’t always very practical. It makes us feel good – as if we are moving in SOME direction – but how many times do we find that we actually went in a circle and wound up back where we started from? We start running, and put a lot of energy into our activities and get really energized and excited, and then wake up one day wondering “How the heck did I get here?”
Having a clear picture of what we want and what it looks like to us is helpful. I recommend putting your desires on a 3 X 5 card and keeping them somewhere close by, or recording yourself talking to you about what you want, or simply doing a journal entry about your desired state. Whatever you do, take the time to record it, to envision it and to ensure that it really is where you want to go.
Motivation and commitment are also key – but make sure you are coupling them with a clear focus about what that end state looks like to you!