Do you really want to change as badly as you say you do?
I meet a lot of people who say they want to, and always tell me how serious they are about changing. Whether that’s developing better habits, turning their lives around, losing weight, or developing greater discipline, everyone wants to change in at least one area of their lives.
I love that, I love even more helping people make that change.
Here’s the problem, everyone says they want to change, very few people actually do. As a matter of fact according a study done 92% of people will quit on the goals that they set at the beginning of the year by the end of the year. Which means only 8% of people (in the world) actually sticks with their commitment to change.
Why? Well I can tell you it’s not all the reasons you’re probably going to give such as, “I don’t have the time”, “I don’t have the right information”, or my personal favourite “I need motivation”.
Truth is all those reasons are really excuses disguised as reason for not changing. At the end of the day it comes down to one factor…YOU.
But you don’t need me telling you what you already know, so let’s cut the small talk and get into it
In this article I want to take you through understanding the difference between wanting to change versus actually making change. This is so you’re no longer delusional about the change you want to see in your life. Also, I’ll take you through the process of actually how to move from wanting to, to actually changing.
The Difference Between Wanting to Change And Actually Changing
The difference between the two comes down to one thing, action. If you’re not actually taking the necessary actions consistently to change, then you’re really not serious about it. I don’t care how much you want to talk about it, if you do nothing about changing it won’t happen.
Yes, you’ve heard it a million times! The question is why aren’t you doing it?
Let’s go through the steps to identify and help you move to make actual change in your life. Let’s start with wanting to change.
Wanting to Change
This is where pretty much everyone starts, it’s where I started. At this level you always talk about changing. You know you should, but the pain and pressure hasn’t really hit you as yet, so you don’t see it as a priority right now.
Every now and then you’ll say to a friend, family member, or co-worker “You know I really should lose some weight”, “You know I really should start saving”, “You know I really should find a better paying job”, “You know I really should (fill in the blank)”.
It’s your ‘should’ stage. You know you should, but it isn’t urgent, and therefore not a priority for you, so you keep putting it off. You casually say you need to do it, but you really haven’t made any steps whatsoever to actually changing.
If this sounds like a familiar pattern with you, then you’re in the Wanting to Change phase.
That’s not even the worst. The worst is when you aren’t even aware you need to change. When you think everything you have been doing, and continue to do is normal. Therefore, you believe you don’t need to change anything about yourself, because you know what…you’re completely fine.
The Wanting to Change state is a very dangerous place to be. That’s because at this phase you’re apathetic and complacent. You’re in a ‘go with the flow’ vibe, which is a sure way that things will inevitably get worse.
The best way to get through this phase is with awareness. You can’t change unless you know that you need to, and know what to change.
Ask yourself these questions about the situation or the part of you that you want to change:
- What about me/this situation do I need to change?
- Why do I need to change?
- What has been keeping me from changing? (people, things, beliefs, bad habits)
- How do I go about changing?
Asking these questions will not only help you gain awareness of what you need to do, and what has been hindering you from changing, but more importantly, it will take you out of your apathetic and complacent state, to actively seek ways how you can make change.
By doing so you move to the next step of making actual change: Ready to Change
Ready to Change
At this phase you’ve now realized the need and importance of changing, and actively seek the information you need to make the necessary change.
You can recognize when you’re at this phase because you start reading books and online articles, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, attending webinars and seminars, and seeking out others who are knowledgeable in the area you want to make the change. Basically, you’re trying to source the information from any and every channel you have access to.
This is a great place to be, because now you’re actively doing something about it. However, at the same time, it’s the most dangerous place to be. Why? Because at this phase it’s easy to become delusional, and trick yourself into thinking that just because you’re acquiring a lot of knowledge and information, that means you’re actually changing.
That couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth.
Many people fall prey and victim to this, especially with the whole notion of motivation and motivational speakers. It’s easy to think you’re actually making change because:
- Your awareness of how to make change has expanded
- You can articulate the information you received to others
- Certain authors and self-improvement personalities are familiar to you
- You can name all the books you’ve read (and brag about how many you’ve read)
- People start coming to you for advice because of how knowledgeable you’ve become
- You feel more positive and enlightened than you’ve ever been (dangerous)
Take a look at each of these points and you’ll notice one common theme, none of them mentions anything about taking action on the information acquired. Yet, taking action, and doing so consistently over a period of time, is the only REAL thing that leads to actual change. Not becoming knowledgeable about it, but actually doing it.
I fell victim to this also for over 5 years. I knew all the books, knew all the authors, went to the seminars, could articulate how to do something to everyone (though I’d never done it myself). Yet, when I took a look around I realized that as knowledgeable as I seemed, nothing in my life had really changed. I was in the same, and possibly even worse place in my life I was before.
The greatest enemy to self isn’t that we know our weaknesses, it’s that we’re completely unaware we have them.
I believe one of the reasons why it’s so easy for anyone to get stuck here, without making actual change, is because it feels good. It boosts our ego, and makes us feel good that we’re ATTEMPTING change, without actually putting in the hard work of MAKING change.
All this my friend is an illusion. It’s the Matrix you’re caught in without even realizing that you are.
If you find that you’re more knowledgeable about making change, yet your life is remaining the same, then you may be caught in this trap.
The first step to moving from this phase is admitting that though you may be knowledgeable, all your knowledge isn’t helping you to make real change. It’s not that the information doesn’t work, it may be that you haven’t taken action on it, or taken action consistently. This is important because if you’re stuck in the denial and misconception that Knowledge = Change, then you’ll never see your life or circumstances change.
It takes work and action.
The next step is to think about what’s the absolute worst possible outcome that can happen to you as a result of not changing. The more painful you can make the consequence the better.
“If I don’t stop being a chronic spender and save, I’m going to go deeper into debt and losing everything I’ve worked so hard for”. As a matter of fact take it one step further, think about losing your home and ending up homeless on the street.
If what you want to change is your bad eating habits that makes you overweight, think about if you continue eating you’ll gain more weight, possible have a heart attack or some other terminal illness, and die. Yeah, it’s scary, but that’s the point.
Make the pain of not changing in the present and in the future so severe and painful it forces you to take action.
If the pain of remaining the same is more severe than the pain of taking action to change, it will cause you to make the change.
Once you are able to do this then it moves you to the final phase: Willing to Change.
Willing to Change
The final step is the Willing to Change phase. At this phase you’re not only willing to seek the information, but you’re willing to use it. That’s because the thought of not changing and remaining the same is so painful that you decide to do something about it.
There is one thing, and one thing only, that defines this phase, that’s action. If you’re not taking action, then you’re not at this phase, nor are you serious about making change. However, if you’re taking action, even being completely ignorant to what you’re doing, you’re still at this phase.
I recently started working with someone new to help her break the habit of overeating and eating healthier. When we sat down to do our Assessment & Analysis session, I asked her how serious she is about changing, she said very. I told her I’m not sure she is serious, matter of fact I’m not sure she’ll stick with it long-term.
Now this seems a bit harsh coming from the person who’s supposed to be helping you right? However, after coaching people for 4 years now, I knew the signs of someone serious about changing, and I didn’t see them with her. I told her if I was to work with her I needed to be sure she wasn’t wasting my time or hers.
She immediately told me that I didn’t believe in her. I countered, actually I believe in you A LOT, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because then I’d be intentionally wasting my time. Then I went on to tell her there’s a difference between believing IN her and believe her. I told her I believed in her and believed she had the capacity for change. However, I don’t believe anything she says, what I pay attention to is action. I told her, if you want to prove to me that you’re serious, prove to me in your action.
Of course this was all reverse-psychology because I realized she’s like me. She loves the challenge of someone telling her she can’t achieve a goal, only to prove them wrong.
Still, the point remains. I believe everyone has the capacity to change, I just don’t believe people’s words when they tell me they want to, only their actions.
The great thing about being at this phase is that you don’t need to have any knowledge whatsoever to get started, and make change. All you need is the desire and willingness to take action and do something about it. After failing enough times you’ll eventually figure it out.
That’s the approach I took when I grew my business to over $150,000 in revenue. I had no clue how to do it, and no one else had any clue how to do it the way I did, which was through LinkedIn. I just spent a lot of sleepless nights and endless days in trial and error until I figured it out.
There is no solution to this phase really. However, what I would caution you on is not to start off taking massive action or rely on motivation to see the change you want, as these things never last, and eventually cause burnout.
Start small and simple, and work your way up, that’s how you maintain consistency, that’s how you make change a reality.
In case you haven’t picked up on the theme for this post let me just say it here, real change only happens through action, not just information.
It’s important to note that every time you decide to change in a new area of your life, you start the entire process over from Wanting to Change.
Knowing this will help you understand why it seems easy to make change in one area of your life, but struggle in another. It’s because in the new area of your life, right now you just want to, but it hasn’t become a must for you.
Still, if you’re taking action, any action, you’ve already won, you’re already on the path to making change a reality.
To your success my friend!
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