This thought or feeling can come to you, whether waking up one day, or at the end of yet another day. It is the uncomfortable moment when you think or feel that life as you know it sucks. What then are you willing to believe and to do to change that? Or do you think you’re stuck with it and that’s just how it is, that life is unfair and you better get used to it?
What you can do, if you find yourself in that situation, is to stop, sit down, and even if you need help, figure out a plan, one designed and based on change. I have harped on change for many years and I think I sound like a broken record, putting out the same message over and over. If I were to review my blog over the past six years, most of the posts are in one way or another about change. Maybe I am stuck on change but that sounds contradictory.
One of my wife’s favorite aphorisms is, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” And I say, repeatedly, “Change is inevitable, plan carefully.” The big question is what kind of change would you really like, if you are honest about that?
I recall Atul Gawande asking this question so pointedly in his book BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End. (Henry Holt & Co. 2014). What do you want the quality of life to be within the circumstances in which you find yourself? It does not have to be “in the end” but wherever you are along life’s continuum. You may need to go from blind acceptance, believing that nothing can be changed, a rather hopeless and discouraging position, to a mind-set of what can be changed even within some limitations.
You can actually find hope where there may currently be despair. You can find ways to relax rather than be stressed, and you can discover some new possibilities rather than be constrained or blocked by prevailing conditions and limitations. It’s about discarding what you don’t need and finding something new for that which you discarded.
You can move from accepting a situation that you might believe can’t be changed and instead of accepting it as a given, decide it is no longer acceptable as the status quo. Change your belief. Move from impossible to possible and while that can be challenging, there is no simple formula or recipe that works easily and quickly for everyone. Here are ten suggestions for implementing change.
- Do a thorough and honest assessment of where you are in your current life or work situation.
- Look at what is holding you down or holding you back from being in a different place or state of mind.
- Consider some possible options and choices that you may not have thought about previously.
- Make a list of what is most appealing and rank those in terms of preference and priority.
- See what it would take for you to realize one or more of those possibilities, even within some limitations.
- If you get stuck at this point go back and start again and replace “I can’t” with an “I can and I will” attitude.
- Design a plan for change that you are willing to actively engage in and work toward.
- Be willing to make changes in the plan itself in order to adjust to changing conditions.
- Anticipate a positive outcome and what that will look like.
- Enjoy the results of your good work and keep the plan for future reference.
There are two kinds of change, planned and unplanned. While the former is more desirable, it’s not always possible. When planned change can be anticipated there are those specific steps to insure that the most effective and successful change is implemented. When change is precipitated that is not anticipated, the response to the experience may need additional support and guidance in order to embrace that kind of change in the best possible way.