CHANGE. By Billy Cox
Change is the big buzz word in today’s society. It’s on television, in newspapers, and in magazines. Preachers talk about it, late night infomercials sell you on it, and Politicians promise it. People attend seminars to change their habits, hire coaches to inspire change, and we’re always hearing about the latest book that instructs us on how to change and why we should do it.
Think about it – In the business world, companies spend billions of dollars investing in change for the future. They hire “Change Gurus,” and “Motivation Specialists” to light a fire in their employees so they accept change within the organization. Companies invest in their employees and the expected result is for them to embrace change. Business owners, leaders, and managers spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get employees to change their actions.
Here’s my question, if change is so important and everyone knows it’s needed and… everyone says they want it…then why is it so hard to change? Why do very few people succeed in transforming themselves to achieve the desired results?
The answer is very simple. It is because most people look to their outside world to change first before they change what’s inside their hearts and minds. It seems that most people are waiting for the economy to get better or their doctor to give them a magic pill before they make the effort to improve their lives. They will change their attitude and effort as soon as something in their outside world changes. Some people will only make the necessary changes until they’re promoted or they have to fill a new position. A lot of people refrain from putting forth the effort to be the top producer until business conditions are perfect or until they have a new super duper product that will sell itself.
Here’s the problem. This NEVER works! The magic pill or bullet never arrives. Unless someone is willing to look in the mirror and make a serious committed decision to take different actions on a daily basis… change will never happen. Most people do not hold themselves accountable for their own results and end up in a never ending vicious cycle of despair. Here’s the truth. Change is hard! If it were easy then everybody would do it. It’s easy to give others advice on how to change but it’s hard to live our own device. Take it from me. It’s easier for me to teach how to change rather than live the change I need. The truth of the matter is that old habits are really hard to break.
To change, we have to liberate ourselves from old habits. We have to re-train our brain for it dictates our beliefs. Our beliefs determine our actions and it is our consistent actions that will produce results. If you want different results then you have to take different actions on a consistent basis. Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell says “Your life changes when you change something you do every day.”
You can be the most motivated and optimistic person in the world. However, it is not until you look in the mirror and change the person you see that your “world” will improve.
Here’s the good news. The magic pill or bullet is you! Yes, change is possible and anyone including you can do it. A little commitment backed up with belief, hope, and action can turn a challenging life into a spectacular experience initiated by change.
So how do you change? Here’s the first step. Look in the mirror and ask yourself these five questions:
- What’s holding me back and keeping me from realizing my dreams? This is the hardest question you’ll ever ask in your life because it’s directed at YOU! You have to admit to yourself that you know the answer and you do. I personally ask myself this question all the time. I knew the answer the first time I asked myself this question but I wanted to justify and rationalize my answer and make excuses. Write down your answer.
- What excuses have I used in the past that have held me back from making the necessary changes to my life?There is no shortage of excuses such as “The status quo is not so bad.,” “I don’t have the time.,” or my boss is a jerk. Write down your excuses and justifications.
- What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t change? Write down exactly what you believe could happen and where could you end up.
- What positive outcomes could I experience if I made changes to my life? Write down five positive results that could happen if you made these changes.
- What new actions must I take to permanently change my life and to never be held back again? Write down at least five actions.
If you asked yourself these questions and were truthful with your answers, there’s no doubt you experienced many emotions. Some emotions such as denial, sorrow, and regret may have triggered painful and negative memories of opportunities lost. That’s okay for it’s in the past and its part of the change process and you now need a wake-up call.
You also probably experienced some positive emotions such as hope, excitement, and joy about the possibilities of what your life could be like if you just make the transformation. That’s good because you must have hope in the future to have power in the present.
This leads us to the here and now – current reality. You’ve thought about change. You know the benefits of change but now you actually have to change your daily routine. To make lasting change, I firmly believe you must eliminate old self destructive habits and replace them with a new life empowering attitude. It’s vital that you make the effort and do the following:
- Train your subconscious mind and use your imagination. All change begins in the theater of your mind. Reserve at least 5-minutes every morning and night to visualize yourself taking the daily actions and experiencing the benefits of your new life. Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish the difference between something you imagine and something real. Imagining your new self will actually empower you to say, do, act, and react in the way you want to experience real life on a daily basis.
- Train your conscious mind and body. This means deliberately making yourself take actions you imagined as the day unfolds. This has to be a conscious effort on your part. It will be hard at first but you must face any fears head on and take the actions necessary to change. Fight through any initial pain for it will become easier and easier and more pleasurable each time you take action and put forth the effort toward the target you want to hit.
- Reinforce your emotions on a daily basis. This means using empowering words out loud. Tell yourself who you are even if you are not there yet. Celebrate success every step of the way. Give yourself “Kudos.” Tell yourself that “It’s all good!” Look in the mirror and tell yourself every day that you are getting better and better. The more you can engage your mind and body the better you will become. Tell yourself that “Yes, I have the power” and “All I need is within me now.”
Finally, you need to understand that daily motivation is important to keeping your mind right and staying focused. The key is for you to read inspiring books, collaborate with encouraging people, and listen to positive audio programs instead of saturating your mind with negative media. However, motivation alone is not enough. Your passion is what will keep you in the game. You acquire passion by understanding the reasons why you need to change.
To stay on track long term, you must have significant reasons to inspire you to change and always follow your heart because it never lies to you. Write down three passionate reasons why you must make the changes. Is it because you want to live with more purpose and energy? Do you want live longer? Do you want to make more money and be debt free? Will your relationships be better if you were to change? What’s your “Why?” Your “Why” will give you purpose and passion. Each of these areas of your life will be different but just like you know what’s holding you back you also know why you must change.
Keep all the reasons on why you must change on a piece of paper so you will always know and understand that the changes are worth it. We must all have reasons to stay in the game. It is the reasons that make the journey much more fun and in the end you always say “It was worth the effort” and “I’m glad I did it.”
I believe in you. You were born with a purpose and tons of potential. My mentor, Zig Ziglar says “You were endowed with the seeds of greatness.” I’m telling you that it’s up to you and only you to seek out your purpose and effectively use your unlimited potential so that you achieve Greatness. It all starts with you looking in the mirror and saying “I’m going to do it, that’s it period. No more excuses!” Always remember, “Reasons don’t matter, only results.” You can do it!
To your success,