Learning to grow as a person is tough because we have always been who we are now. How can you change something that you’ve known your entire life?
First of all, we must recognize the reason why we are wanting to make a change. Is this because our recent actions have impacted someone negatively, and we are afraid that we will lose them completely out of our lives if we do not change? Is this because we want to make a difference in how others see us? Do they see us in a negative light because we really are that person they envision, or is it because they are negative themselves? Do we need to make this change to satisfy others or are we really trying to satisfy ourselves?
I’ve stood by this one thought my whole life, when dealing within my own relationships:
People change to benefit themselves, not anyone else.
Change is hard. When you’ve had the same attitude for years, or may be your whole life, you’ve become comfortable with that trait. That has become your method of coping or reacting. That is your defense mechanism. You have built a foundation and walls around your current character. It’s kind of like owning a home that you built and have lived in for years, and now the thought arises that you need to tear it down and start from scratch. This process takes time, hard work and dedication. Some of us may have started that process and decided that in the middle of it, the tearing down was too tough. The re-building took too much time, and now we’ve realized that it’s just easier to remain in the state that we are in.
So here are a few steps that I have learned over the years to help improve that process, and keep our focus on track.
- Change for you, not for others.
If we decide to turn a big part of our life around just to please someone else, we will not hold the motivation to change. On a bigger note, we could very well change for a little while, but then have this aching feeling that this is not our natural instinct, and revert back to old habits. We must find a reason for the change. Say for instance, you’re a smoker, and your significant other wants you to quit. Is that a good enough reason for you to change? Maybe so, maybe not. Will you actually quit the habit just because they want you to? Not likely. Spend some time to research why you should make the change. Your loved ones care about you, and wouldn’t want harm to come your way. Find the benefits; health, life expansion, and positive mental improvement, just to name a few. Find what will motivate you to make that change, and once you have that in mind, hone in on it. Think on it every day. This will help you with your journey.
2. Don’t lose sight of the prize.
Now that you’ve discovered what motivates you to make a difference, What’s going to keep you on track? We must become focused daily on achieving our goals. We must keep them at the top of mind. Every morning during your routine, take a moment to write down what you’re trying to accomplish. “I am going to be kind to someone today.” “I am going to spend more time with my family.” “I am going to control my anger.” “I will be patient.” Do you remember back in elementary school when you did something wrong and the teacher made you write a phrase over and over again on a sheet of paper? This is the same concept. We tend to remember things better when we write them down, and by doing this at the beginning of the day, this sets the tone for the rest of our day, and the attitude we project.
3. Create step by step goals to accomplish.
You may look at the end goal and become overwhelmed with all of the work that you will need to put in to achieve it. “How on earth am I going to change this habit for the rest of my life?” In going back to the smoker analogy, say he or she is used to smoking 2 packs a day. His/her first step may be decreasing to 1 and a half packs, then 1 pack, then half a pack, and so forth. If you are trying to become more patient, maybe your first goal would be “I’m not going to have road rage on my way to work.” Then later, you realize that you have been a few days without your rage, then a week, then two weeks, and so on. Baby steps are crucial to the overall change, and you must be patient with yourself also. Achieving big things takes time and dedication.
4. Reward Yourself .
Why are we doing this? To improve upon ourselves and to grow. Hopefully the biggest reward will be knowing that you have made a positive impression on yourself and others around you, and have become a happier and strong-minded person. On top of this, also remember how far you’ve come. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you’re the smoker, and have quit, treat yourself and your family to dinner, or buy that big screen tv you’ve been wanting. If you have realized you’ve become that patient and caring version of yourself, take a trip to the beach with your family or loved one, or just a trip for you as a refreshing mental break. You have come a long way, and you deserve it.
~ Your Singing Mermaid