We always want change to happen quickly, easily, and without pain. However, the truth of the matter is that change is never as simple or forgiving as you might expect. In order to navigate it without crashing and burning as you struggle, keep in mind these ten simple (but not very easy) rules for change.
1. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself
Being defensive or finding excuses for action rarely work. Your resistance actually contributes to the problems you’re facing; instead, accept the problem with unrelenting honesty, no matter how uncomfortable this makes you feel.
Why this works: You’re more likely to clearly identify the real problem you’re facing rather than be fooled by solving what in reality may be a red herring.
2. Accept Things as They Are
You can’t control the situation you’re in, no matter how many resources are at your disposal. This doesn’t mean that you can’t respond to it, but above all else, don’t fight it! This is just the way it is.
Why this works: The energy you put into your disappointment and despair can be used instead to help fight your battles.
3. Don’t Tense Up
Don’t tense with it. if you panic or try to rush things, you are guaranteeing that will sink! Use what you have learned to be able to relax.
Why this works: When we tense up, we literally become inflexible and are more likely to break when we encounter resistance.
4. Slow the Heck Down…
Don’t be impatient to “get it over with”! This is the hardest rule of all. If you find that you are running away from some hard truths about your situation, chances are that all your hard work will fail. Slow down and stop all of the busywork so that you can just sit with your discomfort. The more you push, the worse it will be!
Why this works: You’re more likely to solve the real problem rather than rush off chasing something that “looks” or “feels” right. This is similar to Rule #1 above, but with finesse.
5. Give Up Control (in Order to Gain Control)
You have to give up control in order to gain it! The more you try to control your situation, to be perfect, or to “solve it,” the less control you end up having.
Why this works: Our problems are more likely to be solved if we manage them rather than “cure” them. Plus, the energy we put into controlling things ends up leaving us drained and discarded. Instead, use the energy to flow with the problem rather than resisting it.
6. Remember, You Will Fail At Times
The truth about change is that any progress you make will go up and down. You will regress at times. This is to be expected. Use it as a learning experience. Pay attention to what your experiences have told you about how to handle it the next time. Don’t get upset if (and when) you slip up. Most of us do !
Why this works: What worked for you in the past may not necessarily work the next time around. Remember, perfection is an illusion.
7. You Become What You Fear
It is easier to focus on the negatives. Instead, work on focusing on the positives. We move towards what we expect and we become what we fear! If you fear a possible outcome, you are actually setting yourself up for this path.
Why this works: It’s the classic “Don’t think of a pink elephant” example. What you focus on sits in your subconscious and thus becomes more of a reality, not less.
8. Limit Your Vision
Live one step at a time. Take it one hour, day, or week at a time. Don’t worry about yesterday or focus on tomorrow. Just enjoy this moment (or day/hour).
Why this works: The human mind can’t juggle too many pieces of data, and you end up losing your focus.
9. Some Days May Seriously Suck
Realize that some days, or several days, may be terrible. Nothing may work. You will feel like giving up. Hang in there no matter what ! It takes time. Change is a process – not an event in time!
Why this works: By letting things take their time, you’re more likely to master what is likely to be a complicated task rather than “sort of” learn how to do it.
10. Don’t Try to be Perfect
Have the courage to be imperfect! You don’t have to do everything perfectly. We learn from our failures and mistakes, so we need these! Feel the fear and do it anyways.
Why this works: You’re less likely to spend the energy in beating yourself up and can instead use this energy towards focusing on real change.