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How to Make Change in the New Year

New Years FireworksNow that it’s a new year, many folks are looking to set goals, make new commitments and change things. If you want this year to be better than the last, here are a few things to consider.

1. Change in Your Life Requires Change in You

There’s an old saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you want some things to change, you must make some change. This seems pretty obvious, but I’ve found change to not be so simple.

A lot of change “gurus”, talk about changing your behaviors so that things will be different. While this works, an even better way to make change is to change yourself. What are the drives and internal motivations at play that are influencing the behavior that is producing the results you don’t like?

A change in the way you show up will also change the way people respond to you. If you change yourself, the world around you will change.

2. Celebrate Successes

Sometimes when I want something to be different, I toss out everything from before and try something new. However, I often find that some things from before were actually working.

It is good to ask “what has worked?” before making a change.

Don’t forget to celebrate the things that have been working. Sometimes I get overly focused on the negative and I stop even noticing the positive things.

3. Identify What’s Not Working

Sometimes it’s easy to just start changing things without really looking at what was going on. I know I’ve had change efforts in the past where I was unknowingly setting myself up to fail at it.

Another pitfall is to cling to what’s not working for too long. This doesn’t mean you give up on the goal. Instead, you try to reach the goal a different way.

A next good question to ask is, “what hasn’t been working?”

4. Move Forward

Lastly, it’s easy to make a mental jump from “this is a failure” to “I am a failure”. This thinking is a big fat lie. The thought that “this is a failure,” is also probably a lie. There are no failures, there are only learning experiences.

So instead of beating up on ourselves and giving up, it is far more beneficial to have grace and compassion for ourselves, learn what we can from the experience, and move forward.

Finally, the next question to ask is, “What’s next?”

Summary

In summary, ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. What has worked?
  2. What hasn’t been working?
  3. What’s next?

And instead of focusing only on behavior, consider deeper changes that have a greater effect.

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