Making A Change
You might think that change is hard. A Greek philosopher proposed that change is inevitable when he said, “Nothing is permanent except change.”
In coaching and counseling, people come in for help to make changes. They often explain it as a response to something that has changed outside of them. Usually, the change is unwelcome and the feelings they associate with the changes are upsetting in some way.
What changes are you experiencing? Are you taking on new responsibilities in the workplace or at home? Have you recently moved or experienced a change in work or life roles? Did someone important to you experience a major change that had an effect on your life? Maybe the change involves your schedule, or your family commitments (i.e., going back to school).
We all experience change all the time. Can you learn ways to make the adjustments effectively? Learning new coping skills and change efficiency may improve your outlook on life. Learning to make changes might allow you to adjust your beliefs and responses so that things are more manageable and less upsetting.
Consider the following ten steps for a personal change checkup:
1. Make a quick list of the changes you have experienced in the past month (you can make lists for the last six months, twelve months, etc.)
2. Mark each item on your list as “I” if it was a change you Initiated or “R” if it was a change that you responded to that you did not initiate
3. Mark each item as “+” or “-“ to signify if you considered the effect of the change was positive or negative (you might mark some with both)
4. Take a quick tally. Are there more “I” and “+” changes on your list?
5. Turn the page over and make a quick list of changes in your life that you would like to initiate for yourself in the next month.
6. Add a few ideas of the positive advantages for each change
7. Prioritize the list in terms of the change you think would make the biggest difference in your life
8. Identify one change to work on and make a list of all of the things that hold you back from making the change you want
9. Make a list of the steps you would need to take to successfully make the change you want (the more specific you are, the more successful you may be)
10. Work the plan and reward your success along the way.
If making changes is difficult for you, see if improving your planning helps. Next week I will share a model for change that might help. If you need to make changes for the sake of your health, family, work or other aspect of your well-being and you are often immobilized, consider obtaining professional help.
A professional relationship allows you to work together with someone to take more control over the change process and over the responses that you have to change. The responses you have emotionally may become a source of positive motivation, or they may make it difficult for you to adjust. Learning new ways to understand the changes in your life can improve your success and joy in living.
Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor