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Working Through Change

Part 1 in a 3 part series

Throughout life, we have countless opportunities to make changes. These changes range in size and effort from “I want to start running” to “I want to change my career”. And as we take on these changes, we experience varying levels of success.

So why do we succeed sometimes, but not others? What can you do to set yourself up for success and make the shift from where you are today to what you want to accomplish?

Step #1: Preparation, Creating the Right Mindset

Let’s face it, change can be scary. It can also be exciting and full of possibilities. It’s all in how you frame it.

There are 3 things you can do to create a framework for yourself. This framework will enable you to move through the steps of implementing change with greater clarity and purpose.

These 3 steps are:

  • Acknowledge the Present

  • Welcome the Future

  • Define Your Why

Acknowledging the Present

When the change comes, what are you leaving behind? In today’s culture, the ability to constantly change, to strive for the next accomplishment, is seen as not just a nice to have, but a requirement for success.

This desire to constantly improve, adapt, and grow can leave us feeling exhausted; we are always doing, always in motion. This leaves little time for reflection on what has occurred and what we’ve learned from it.

As you feel a desire to make a change, use this as an opportunity for reflection. What does the present state look like? What’s worked well so far and enabled you to succeed?

Wanting to make a change does not mean that the current state is bad. Instead, this is an opportunity to acknowledge all you’ve accomplished, and how that has shaped you as an individual. We view life through the lens of our unique experiences. Everything you’ve done in life has made you who you are, and we should acknowledge and celebrate the one and only YOU!

The desire for change is a signal that you are ready for something new, and this readiness appears when you have hit a plateau. Thinking of this plateau as a stepping stone will enable you to step forward on your path with a sense of gratitude for what got you to this point. You’re now operating from a place of strength – you’re acknowledging your capabilities and success as you forge a path forward.

Welcome the Future

Who or what is it that you’re welcoming into your future? Change is often scary because there’s a great deal of uncertainty. Our minds quickly begin to focus on the unknowns and suddenly the list is quite long. This makes it almost impossible to build momentum.

To avoid this sense of paralysis, take the time to define the change you want to make. In addition, use words that are less about a specific outcome and more about the type of person you wish to be and the type of life you want to create.


I want to lose 15 pounds.
I want to get promoted.
I should learn to cook.


…versus After

I want to live a healthier lifestyle.
I want to inspire others to do their best work.
I want to learn something new and share it with others.


Define Your Why

A client recently said to me, “If you want to change, you need to first accept that you want to change.”

At first glance, this statement may not appear to be terribly insightful, but it really does hold the key to success. The most critical word here is “you”.

We often define our goals based on the perspective of others, saying “I should lose weight”, or “It’s time for me to pursue a promotion.” But “shoulds” are not going to provide the internal drive needed to see the change through.

In order to successfully change, it needs to be something that is meaningful and important to you.

Defining your “why” enables you to personalize your goal so that you can fully own it. Your success is not dependent on someone else. In addition to the goal or outcome, you’re also clarifying the benefit(s) this change will bring.

Change can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to. Making the time to reflect on the past, clarify the change you want to make, and define your why will result in a framework from which you can work. It helps to remove uncertainty and ambiguity and will allow you to create guideposts that let you know you’re on the right path, making progress towards the life you want to create.

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this series, Change Is Hard: How Can I Stick With It? where we will dive deeper into the thoughts and emotions around change, and what obstacles can hold us back.

How do you get started when you want to make a change?



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