It’s that time of year when everyone is thinking about change. Some people start making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals and creating action plans. Some people simply have an idea in their head about something they want to be different in the next year. Some people will actually be successful and most of them won’t.
Perhaps that’s because most people approach change in the wrong way.
They are motivated by something they don’t like in their lives. Too much clutter. Too out of shape. Too much debt. Too much whatever. Their goals grow out of something they no longer want – disorganization or poor health or stress.
On the surface that might seem like an okay motivator. The problem is it’s not a sustainable one. Being fed with the clutter or not fitting into your clothes might give you the initial push to start doing something but it won’t keep you moving forward.
Once things are a little less cluttered or your clothes fit a bit better or you are not huffing and puffing up the stairs, your motivation slips away. That fed up feeling wears off. And it usually happens long before you have reached your goal.
The underlying problem is that people are pretty clear about what they don’t want but are not so clear about what they do want.
So the first and most important step in creating change is figuring out what you DO want.
Think about it this way:
If you want to go on a trip, the first thing you do is decide where you are headed. You know where you want to go. You don’t focus on all the places you don’t want to go. You pick a primary destination and head in that direction. Sure you might get distracted along the way. Take a detour. Make a pit stop. But you still have a destination in mind.
Once you know your destination, then your choices become clearer. Am I driving or flying? Do I pack a bathing suit or ski boots? The same is true for your goals. Once you know where you would like to end up, the path to that destination is simpler. Think about where you are headed not what you are running away from.
The other thing to remember is to not head in 5 different directions at the same time. Doesn’t work when you are travelling and it doesn’t work when you want to create real change in your life. Pick one primary focus for change in the new year and concentrate your time and energy there.
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