Friday, October 31, 2008

Change "You" Can Believe In

We have heard a lot about "change" during this presidential election. Both candidates have committed to changing the course of this country. But let's make it personal for a second. How can you change the course of your life?
Perhaps you have a nagging habit like chewing your fingernails. Maybe you sit around all day and get nothing accomplished. There is a chance you are like me and are intent on exercising. Tomorrow, always tomorrow.
And what if you are the person who's need for change runs deeper? You need to change the way you treat your wife. You need to change the way you talk to and around your children. You need to work harder so you are not in danger of losing your job. Your overall temperament is so rotten that people can't stand to be around you for lengthy periods. You need to talk that girl you have a crush on. You need to meet new people. Any people.

Here is the change you can believe in: First, if it is something you truly desire to change, then set about to change it. I imagine that hit you as either too simplistic or too difficult. Such as our election, there is little room for middle ground by thinking, "oh, well that all makes sense now. I will get on that!" But until you get over the mental hurdle that change needs to happen and you actually want it to happen, no change will occur.
Once you have it in your mind to change, start small. It is great to realize the end goal but know that you will not jump from nothing to the end result without a little work. If it was that easy, you would have done so in the time it took to read this post. In starting small, find progressive steps. It is suggested by some that before you must implement change, you must plan out your course. I agree to an extent, but this is where most people get discouraged and bogged down. If you are finding you are getting stuck, move on. Sometimes the best course is to put one foot in front of the other and before you know it, you have reached your destination.
After you have moved beyond planning, start obtaining your goal in small increments. Try not chewing your nails for a day, run half a mile, talk to a girl you don't like. Gradually add onto this: don't chew your nails for a week at a time, add half a mile to your run every other week, say "hello" to the girl you like when passing her by. Repeat until your goal is reached.
If you slip, don't be afraid to start again or try a new way of getting there. Thomas Edison said about his light bulb invention, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Over the next few weeks, I will break down change in more detail. The change, however, starts with you.
In the meantime, I would love to hear your examples. What do you want to change? What have you tried changing? Success? Failures?

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