As we approach the end of the year and experience the holiday season, some of you are wondering how to make changes in the new year. How can I become more effective? How can I get out of my own way? How I can work better with others?
Most of my life I have asked myself those questions. Not that I have the answers, but here is a process that could work for you. It has for me.
Our lives are lived in a fog of doing what we did yesterday and the day before, whether or not it is effective.
The first step to making a change is to become aware of stubbing your toe and the accompanying pain. Don’t try to ignore because there’s a “crisis” under way or an overwhelming work load.
Consequently, this is the hardest step to allow to happen.
Coming to terms with the fact that dysfunction is occurring is powerful. Doing so allows for the possibility of moving beyond it.
You can’t stop here, though. Simply accepting you are not being the person you want to be does not make you different.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Okay, so you are not making the right choice and you are not going to fool yourself anymore with thinking that other people are the problem.
Acknowledging this and embracing it is tough to do. Without looking yourself in the mirror and saying that “I am the problem in this situation,” nothing further will be done.
So let’s say you decide to change. You vow to hold yourself accountable for making a different choice the next time you feel ineffective.
This is an exciting step. You are committing to becoming more the person you want to be. You aren’t going to keep on making excuses. You won’t accept staying in the same place anymore.
Then that familiar stimulus occurs yet again. You find yourself about to respond with the same choice that has been a default for several years.
But this time, while you are aware of this inclination, you are no longer a prisoner of it.
You look for a different choice, a way of responding that is more likely to leave you feeling good about yourself because you are becoming more effective.
You decide on what to do. You don’t know how it will work out. But you push yourself into the future you want, by taking a different step.
No matter how the action works out you need to give yourself an award for having the courage to make a different choice.
Notice how it feels—doing something that had never occurred to you before or that you thought you couldn’t do.
Sit and reflect on this for a moment. Don’t just move on to doing something else.
By allowing yourself to enjoy the unfamiliar, you make your response more likely to become a new, more effective habit.
My journey has taken many years. I still have miles to go. Now I realize it is all about the journey and there actually is no destination.
As we make the transition from this year to the next, all I suggest is you resolve to change one thing about your behavior that you are dissatisfied with. You know that those you love and those you work with want this to happen.
You can do this. And, the thing is, you have no choice if you want to be the person you think you can be.