January 22, 1995 in Features

Pathways To Change Can Make ‘95 Truly New

Jeff Herring Tallahassee Democrat
 

The beginning of a new year provides time for reflection on the year past as well as anticipation of the year ahead. As you reflect on the year just past, were there things you wanted to change? What would life be like right now if you had made those changes in the past year? Are there things you would like to change in the new year ahead? What would life be like a year from now if you make these changes this year?

Most people tend to approach change from one of two directions.

At one end are people who seem to be afraid of change. The notion of doing something different is so frightening that they remain in a familiar though painful situation. They may “want to” change, but they are just too frightened to take the risk.

At the other end are people who change too quickly or too often, without the consideration and planning necessary to make change successful. These are people who may go from job to job or relationship to relationship, perhaps looking for a “geographical cure.” Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

What changes might you desire for yourself in the new year? Perhaps a change of job or financial status, a change in attitude, in a relationship or in your physical condition. Or perhaps something else?

Whatever your desired changes may be, successful change requires knowing what you want, gathering relevant information, evaluating the risk involved, making a plan and then taking action. This is simply what good therapy involves as well.

To make successful changes this year, here are two pathways to change that you may find useful.

The first comes from the wellknown motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins. He calls it a fourstep process of “getting leverage on yourself” for change:

Deciding that something has to change. Ask yourself, what will happen if this doesn’t change?

Deciding that you are the one who must make the change. Stop waiting around for others to change. Take responsibility and go for it!

Taking massive action toward the change. Do all the necessary things to make the change.

Paying attention. Notice the feedback from the world around you. Is what you are doing working? If it is, don’t fix what isn’t broke. If it isn’t, don’t try harder; try smarter. Do different things until you get the results you want.

The second pathway to change is one I have found useful in my practice. We can call it the imagination technique. Here’s how it goes: In your imagination, as clearly and specifically as you can, picture how you and your life will be once you make this change. Now ask yourself the following questions:

What does the me in the future know that I don’t know yet?

What has the me in the future learned that I haven’t yet?

If you could go out to your mailbox today and receive a letter from the future you, titled, “Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was You,” what would it say?

What’s the very next step that you need to take to move in that direction? And the next after that? And the next after that? And so on.

xxxx


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