Making Change Happen

Making Changes
(, Salvatore Vuono)

Many of us want to make a change in some area of our lives. Whether our goal is to get organized or launch a business, it is critical that we craft an environment which will keep us moving forward. Without sustained motivation, we are likely to give up! Below are some key factors which either help and hinder progress. By answering the suggested questions you’ll be able to identify steps you can take to enhance your odds of success.

Change Agents

1. STRONG DESIRE: We aren’t likely to change any area of our lives which is peaceful and satisfying.

 “Is change something I really want? Is it my desire or am I feeling pressure from an external source?”

2. CLEAR DEFINITION OF GOALS: It’s impossible to attain a specific goal if we haven’t clearly articulated what the goal is. A large/vague goal can be intimidating, so break it down into smaller pieces.

“How would I describe success? Do I have a clear list of accomplishments I hope to attain? Are they specific enough for me to know without a doubt when I have reached them?”

3. WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Setbacks are inevitable whenever we step out on a new path. Having positive voices in our ears keep us going.

“Are there people in my life who support me in this endeavor? Have I asked them to support me with words, emails, phone calls… or whatever is most helpful to me?”

4. ACCOUNTABILITY: Few people have the ability to go it completely alone. Inviting another person to “check in” keeps us moving forward.

“Who can turn I trust to ‘nudge me’ on those days when I feel like giving up? Have I asked for his/her help?”

5. PROGRESS: Few things are as motivating as seeing progress toward a goal. Achieving milestones along the way provides concrete evidence of success.

“How will I track my progress… numbers? sizes? days? other?”

Change Hurdles

1. OVERWHELM: When we can’t even see the top of the mountain, we are often reluctant to start the climb.

“How can I break this goal down into manageable pieces so I can find my way through to the next step?”

2. FEAR OF FAILURE: Fear is perhaps the most powerful emotion we encounter. Acknowledge that fear should be expected, and remember that failure is a healthy sign of effort. (It’s easy to avoid failure from the sidelines.)

“What am I really afraid of… being embarrassed? trying again and failing? What can I do differently to ensure a different outcome? If I get off track, how will I get back on?”

3. WORDS OF CRITICISM: When we take a risk to change our lives, others often try to discourage us. Sometimes it is because they are content with the status quo, and sometimes it is because they are jealous of our courage.

“Whom can I expect to discourage me on this journey? How will I respond when this happens? How can I minimize the volume of this voice in my life?”

4. COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHERS: We come to our challenges from different life experiences. Even if we pursue similar ends, our courses won’t look the same.  Comparison is a quick road to feeling insufficient… a major enthusiasm killer.

“To whom do I have tendency to compare myself? Why do I do this? How can I remind myself that another’s situation is irrelevant to the goal I want to achieve?”

5. PROCRASTINATION: One of the best ways to avoid failure is to avoid starting. However, delaying often exacerbates problems, causing stress to rise.

“Have I been avoiding making this change? Why? Do I need to pursue professional assistance to keep me on track or provide needed expertise?”

6. UNFINISHED PROJECTS: Seeing past initiatives we’ve begun sitting around in a state of incompletion sends the message “I can’t.”

“Are there any projects I could finish now to build my confidence? Am I willing to commit to finishing whatever I start from this time forward?”

*     *     *     *     *

Change is well within your grasp. It may be challenging, frustrating, and time consuming, but the will to change, coupled with the right environment, offers limitless possibility.

What do you do to keep motivated?

27 thoughts on “Making Change Happen”

  1. Great tips Seana! I think I encounter every single one of those hurdles you listed. When I start to feel overwhelmed it helps for me to take some time and reassess my goals and list a few steps I can take in the direction I want to head.

    1. I think we all encounter these hurdles, Dawn. I know I do! I need to be making a constant, conscious effort to move forward and silence those discouraging voices!

  2. I always feel so alone in my hurdles until I read something like this and realize we all struggle. For me, it’s the struggles to be more present with the kids, give up the iPhone habit, eat better, sleep better, exercise better (better, better, better!) and of course – make more money with more clearly defined career goals.
    Ah, we’re such sloppy human works-in-progress. You must see it all in your career!

    1. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s what I was talking about in having goals that are vague or large. I always suggest we just work on very specific goals that can be measured… and have some grace with ourselves. We are so much harder on ourselves than our friends. Change is – delightfully – a lifelong pursuit!

  3. such a great post and summary of what makes us move and what stops us. I am so guilty of those hurdles, especially when it comes to exercising. I need to just stop and GO. I am going to print this out and really study, and make sure I memorize those tips babe.

    1. I struggle with the exercise challenge too, Karen. The one things I’ve kept up over the years (yoga) is almost totally because I do it with a girlfriend and I am either expecting her at my door or she is expecting me. When she’s away, I always fall off the wagon!

    1. Yep, probably the most common. This is where someone who can come alongside and help break a project into manageable pieces really helps. For me, I like knowing that someone will be available if I hit a bump – gives me the courage to begin:)

  4. I really needed this post today! I am overwhelmed (see?!?) with work right now and feel like I’m slipping into a black hole. I need to let go of the negative and embrace the positive for better motivation. Thanks for this! 🙂

    1. Sending you love on this overcrowded day, Crystal! We all have those “black hole” moments, and we think we can’t possibly do it anymore. And then we do, so be encouraged:)

    1. So glad you found it helpful, Rebecca. Sometimes I need to rally the whole bunch to stay motivated:) If it is worth starting, it is worth finishing, right?

  5. I often have the desire to get something done (for instance a blog post or the dishes), but do not physically feel like wanting to do things as I’m tired or whatever. I also sometimes catastrophize about tasks and how boring/tedious/long/difficult they will be which makes me procrastinate even more. I know the best thing I can do is simply just get started. Things always seem easier once you started (at least for me).

    1. Yes, yes, yes, Jessica. I think just taking one small step forward (it can literally be TINY), can change our outlook completely. Seeing just a small bit of progress is empowering, and gives us the energy and confidence to do more. I think the tendency to delay is fairly universal – though the reasons we generate may differ. I so appreciate your comment as I think many people will identify!

  6. This is such a great post…I definitely feel like fear of failure keeps me from taking chances sometimes…but I am working on it! Thank you for this! Just what I needed to read today! :)-Ashley

    1. Fear of failure is pretty much something we all struggle with.. me included. I wish we could convince ourselves that failure is ok. It is such a negative word, but what it actually means is trying and learning. Toddlers do it every day! I just keep telling myself that all I have to do is look for the next door to walk through, and then take it from there!

    1. Getting started really is the tough part, Kathy. It is for all of us. But I’m like you – just seeing a little progress gives me confidence and energy to take the next step. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This are some great points about making changes in our lives. I get motivation from people around me for sure…like people in my fellowship of like-minded believers and my husband. 🙂

    1. Oh yes, Brittnei. Lucky you to have people around you who share your ideas and are encouraging. That is the best thing we can have to keep us moving forward:) Happy weekend!

  8. No#4—a tough one for me. I always feel like I don’t measure up and have to keep working harder and harder to be better at what I’m trying to accomplish. This was a GREAT list!!!

    1. I think #4 is tough for all of us. The temptation to compare permeates so many aspects of our life. I always try to remind myself “comparing leads to despairing”.. and who need that? Thanks for your comment:)

  9. I just look at my son and I instantly get motivated! I used to really hate change, I guess I don’t like the hassle, now I’m doing my best to embrace change because the only best way to live life is to move forward and go on.

  10. I love the idea of looking at the negatives and the positives about change. The questions under each section are really great. I can see this being very beneficial for some to think about or journal to help them past the hurdle.

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