Why change? When I hear people talk about a change in their lives, it always strikes me how different people think about themselves.
The two extremes are easy to notice. On the one hand, I meet people close to being perfect but relentlessly striving to further improve themselves. On the other hand, I come across people who think they are perfect, but … you know what I mean ;-).
I think it’s not necessary to change if you genuinely are happy with every aspect of yourself. Read that sentence again.
What I just said is critical, because most people are not happy with who they are or with the way they live their lives. If you are unhappy with a certain aspect of your life, then you have two options, accept it or change it.
Although it seems like the easiest option, accepting yourself is easier said than done, believe me. What’s more, one day you seemingly live in peace and harmony, whereas other days you’re so mad at yourself for being like this or that, and you cannot stand yourself. I think you know what I’m talking about. When I’m hiring new employees, I’m not looking for the ones who want to change their lives completely! I want the ones that are in balance and can and will contribute to turning my ideas into a success!
The most important question you should ask yourself when considering a change in your life is “How would this change affect my life?” If you know your life would dramatically improve if you changed yourself in some aspect, then it might be time to actually change. At year’s end, around Christmas time, we’ll all have our resolutions to end the season, but are they realistic? Quit smoking, for example, will bring tons of benefits to your life, such as improved health and more friends :-).
If you think the time is right for you to make a positive change in your life, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. However, think about the change before you take on the challenge. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I feel about the change?
- Is it worth it?
- When will I start the change?
- When do I want to see results?
- How will I know that I succeeded?
These questions will force you to think about the change you are about to make. Especially the last question is essential as it gives you a goal to work towards. It also prevents you from making you believe that you have changed enough. We Irish folks might, at times, seem a bit stubborn, but overall, we’re hard-working, straightforward, and honest. There’s no need to change anything, is there?
When answering the last question, make sure you are realistic and don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t have to change in one week. Give yourself the time to change. If it takes you one year to lose the 20 pounds, then it takes one year. If it takes you less time, all the better. Recently, I went to a mom’s conference for Irish-American women who want to start their own business and what I learned there was to take your time. Too many changes at once will backfire, most probably.
One change at a time
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from Leo Babauta is to make one change (or habit) at a time. Believe me when I say that your success rate is much higher if you focus all your energy on one change at a time. It’s like using a magnifying glass to set something on fire. Scatter your energy and you are more likely to fail. Once again, give yourself time to change. Not every change is as easy. For people who grew up in hardship (I am from Woodlawn, the Bronx, NYC’s Little Ireland), change might take some effort, but if you take one change at a time, it will work, also for you.
Is it time to change?
Even if, deep down, you know that you should change, it might not be the right moment for you. If you’re going to a particularly rough period in your life, it might be better to postpone your ambition to change. However, as paradoxical as it might sound, feelings of sadness, anger, or pain can give you just that extra energy you need to make the change happen.
Leaving your comfort zone
On a final note, I want to stress that change can often be difficult (although it doesn’t have to be). It can cause fear to emerge. Being in your comfort zone can be so relaxing and I am the last person to deny that I enjoy being in my comfort zone. When you want to make a change in your life, though, you most likely will have to trade your comfort zone for a new zone. Now, this might seem a little tricky for us Irish if you consider our history in the U.S. (through the years, we’ve been so over-traditional, I think) but I bet you it’s gonna work!
It can seem that your comfort zone is the place you have to be because it makes you feel … well … comfortable. It gives you the idea that any change is unnecessary. This, however, is not true in most cases. Of course, you don’t have to do anything you really don’t want to do, but don’t make a decision based on your feelings alone.
It will often be nicer to stay in your comfort zone than to make a change and therefore leave your comfort zone. Build this up gradually, if you like, but give it a try. Although the change might feel uncomfortable at first, I guarantee you that this feeling disappears sooner or later. See also this post that’s about “How to speak Irish Properly”. If you have some Irish blood, I bet you’re going to love it as I do.
Think about it
Before I leave you, I want to underline that it is your decision. Advice from friends and family is welcome, but you have to live with yourself 24/7. In other words, change if you feel like changing. As for now, be happy with who you are. You are perfect already. Think about this. You are perfect already!