What does change mean in your life?
Change is constantly taking place throughout our lives and through space and time. No person, process, thing or action is ever the exact same from moment to moment. However, it is our nature to try to take control over our lives, actions and environments. Due to our desire for control, we will begin to repeat similar actions in order to influence similar outcomes in similar situations. Unfortunately, repeating similar actions that create undesirable outcomes becomes problematic, sooner or later. Let's focus on repetition of actions that lead to undesirable results and incorporate three tools to create the change we want to see.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-- Albert Einstein
This quote from Albert Einstein, pulled from BrainyQuotes.com defines the results of not creating effective change. Steer clear of this sort of insanity, and use the tools below to improve the decisions, actions, and ultimately the results to change your life.
Tool #1: Concentrated Focus
Concentrated focus is a tool that will require time and mental effort. To use the tool, spend 5 minutes thinking in general and in minute detail about grocery shopping, for instance. No thought that pertains to grocery shopping is off limits. However, keep your mind focused on preparing for and experiencing grocery shopping and nothing else. If you lose focus and realize it, come right back to the idea at hand.
If you took the time to participate in that exercise, you probably came away with some significant ideas. You may have analyzed how you physically go about your shopping, how the store you frequent is organized, how you make your grocery list, etc. In addition, you probably thought of ways to improve small portions of your grocery shopping, such as making your list based on the layout of the store, or how to plan your trip based on the items you need.
Now, whatever you want to change about your life has come to your attention by noticing undesirable results that are directly related to inefficient and negative actions or thoughts. Using concentrated focus, fully analyze the actions, thoughts and feelings surrounding the aspect of your life you want to change. It may be helpful to write things down at this point, creating a loose map of the causes and effects of the undesirable outcome.
For more problematic issues, don't expect to make sense of it all immediately. Spend time over several days or weeks analyzing your issue. As you wrap your brain around your problem, start to create a list of actions that you can take that will change something about your situation.
Tool #2: Action
Taking action is the goal and source of life and living. By not taking a given action, you've decided to take other actions, which may be more passive in nature, but still work to effect change in your life, usually in the wrong direction! Focusing on the correct actions and then executing them will move you toward a changed life.
Actions consist of two things: a decision, and an act. You decide what action to take, then take it. For many things in our lives, the decision that is made can be less important than the act completed. For example, to get out of debt, you can decide to make more money, or decide to save more money, in order to pay off your debt. Either decision, if acted upon, will result in a reduction of debt. The key is to complete the action you have decided upon.
Use small things in your life to build up your Action Muscles. As a simple example, if you discover that the trash is about to overflow and needs to be taken out, you will need to make a decision. Decide when you are going to empty the trash, then follow through with the planned act at the specified time. To really build up your Action Muscles, continually shorten the time gap between when you decide upon the action to take, and when you execute that action.
Tool #3: Relaxation and Reflection
Life is a continually changing sea of events, actions, thoughts and emotions. The sea of change in our lives requires that we ebb and flow with it. At regular intervals, if not continually, we need to pause and reflect on the results we are achieving (reflected in the quality of our present lives) and how we can improve the decisions and actions we are taking. As you reflect on your results, if things are not going according to plan, or as well as you would hope, RELAX. There is no help in harboring negative emotions about anything. We will be continually changing and adapting to changes for the rest of our lives. Nothing, not even any current horrible situation, will be the same forever.
As you reflect, think about the changes you have been trying to make in the recent past or over the course of your life. Identify actions that really worked in creating change, and those that did not. Note any decisions that were made that improved or worsened a given situation. Build upon the decisions and actions that worked, and modify or eliminate those that did not.
During the time of reflection, hone in on areas of your life that will benefit from more change. The identified areas will be the new or continued focus of your process of change, using the three tools above. Through concentrated focus, action, and relaxation and reflection, creating and dealing with change is not only possible, but exciting and rewarding.