Making changes in your life is easy. Making lasting change in your life is quite another. There is a process to making permanent changes in your life.
The first step is to first be aware of the change that needs to happen. Are you doing things that get you closer to where you want to go or are they taking you further away? Many times we just perform our daily activities without thinking about the repercussions that the, seemingly unimportant, decisions we make, have on our future. Every decision, no matter how unimportant it may seem, has an effect on your life. To make my case, I want to use weight loss as an example. Today, you make the decision to stop and get a hamburger at the drive-thru. Tomorrow, one piece of that delicious homemade pie. The next day, that fizzy fountain drink. The following day, a drink or two with friends. It is just one small thing each day, added one to the other, until one day, a few months in the future you are ten to fifteen pounds heavier, the clothes don’t fit right, and you feel tired and run down. If you continue making these small choices, a year from now you will be twenty to thirty pounds heavier and you will wonder how it happened. Be aware that the small choice you make today to “cheat” a little will take you in the wrong direction. Decide to make the choice that leads you closer to where you want to go instead of further away.
The second step is acceptance. Accept yourself as you are. Accept the past as just that, the past. Let the things that cannot be changed be a lesson that you learn so you don’t have to make the same mistake twice. Acceptance is sometimes difficult but necessary to be able to continue moving forward. Don’t keep beating yourself up over something that happened in the past because it is done and cannot be changed. What you can do, is use that experience to achieve more in the future.
The third step is to be accountable for your own actions. You can never make lasting changes in your life if you do not take accountability for your actions. Blaming other people or surroundings for your problems or the things that happen to you is not taking accountability. Here is a simple example of being accountable. Say you have a meeting across town and you leave where you are with just enough time to get there, then you encounter a traffic accident that makes you late and causes you to lose the ability to have the meeting which causes you to lose the job that you were going to get a result of the meeting. You are upset about losing the job and blame it all on traffic. The truth is that you need to be accountable for not leaving earlier so that if you do encounter a problem you will still have time to get there. By not leaving earlier, you encountered the accident and missed the appointment that lost the job. Be accountable. Own it because you are in control of what happens to you by making the right decisions and precautions.
The last step in making lasting change in your life is ACTION. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you allow fear and doubt to control you, there will never be progress. Take the first small step and each of the next steps will become easier and the fear will reside and doubt will become confidence.
Change begins with your awareness of what needs to change, acceptance that it is the past, accountability for making the change and the action to achieve it. Janna Valencia