September 30, 2019

The Five Steps of Change

Change is not easy. As much as it seems impossible to change others, it feels equally difficult to change yourself.

Any initiative of change is most often met with resistance, both internally and externally. Internal resistance comes from our existing mindset that accepts the current environment as the ultimate truth and resists any sort of new variation.

External resistance is about the physical limitation to be consistent with the new ways. For instance, identifying and believing in the benefit of work out is one thing, but dragging your body out from the comfort of your bed to the gym every day requires another level of enforcement.

Here are five steps that might help you change yourself and the people around you:

Step 1: Accept the Need to Change

Change begins with awareness about yourself and accepting the need for change.

When you face a problem, there are two approaches you have to consider. One way is to blame others as the source of the issue and expect them to change first. This approach skips the need to change yourself because it is based on one logic: “I am right. They are wrong!” You may be trying to solve all kinds of problems by rectifying others but most probably never thought of changing yourself.

Another approach whenever you see a problem is to ask yourself first, what have you contributed to this problem? This is the power of self-accountability. Having the humility to accept yourself as part of the existing problem, can be a good place to not only start looking at problems through a new perspective, but also take the responsibility to resolve it.

Step 2: Make a Firm Decision

Change is a choice. It cannot be enforced. Once you accept the need for change, you need to make an unwavering decision to make it happen. Simply identifying yourself as part of the issue will not solve the problem unless you decide to change it.

Change enforced externally by peer pressure doesn’t bring sustainable change because it does not resonate with the internal source of your being.

It is easier to change behaviours than to change the mindset. Change beginning with the mindset drives sustainable and long term transformation. However, only behavioural change without a firm decision doesn’t have the required consistency and persistence to push through frictions of resistance.

Step 3: Set Specific Goals

Once you’ve identified the need for change and made your decision. The third step to change is to know what you need to do and how to reach your goal.

Many people have the desire to change and become better in the future. However, they don’t know how to achieve it. Without a clear path defining the steps you need to reach your goal, it is difficult to remain consistent in the process of change.

One way to set the right goals is to consult someone who is or has been in a similar path as you. It could be a partner or a mentor who can hold you accountable and help you stay in your commitment to change.

Step 4: Act and Deliver Consistently

Once you’ve set the right path and goals towards change, you need to act on your commitment every single day. Whether it’s a diet, work out, business or professional goals, it takes consistent action to achieve what you want.

Many times we know too much about all the information we need to drive change, but we don’t act on them to make it happen. We know what is good, why it is good and how to achieve it, but we don’t deliver our commitment consistently due to lack of discipline and self-control.

Most of our good ideas end up becoming only a good theory without any practical implementation. One good action adds more value to the process of change than a thousand great intentions.

Step 5: Perseverance amidst Opposition

Every significant change has to go against different levels of resistance. True commitment needs to be tested through obstacles and hurdles.

Many people with great ideas give up their commitments halfway in the process of creating something great because they don’t have enough thick skin to withstand all the discouragement and criticisms that usually come along the way when you’re in the process of change. Sustainable and reliable change doesn’t happen overnight. It requires grit and patience to wait for results.

Any process of change, whether personal or professional, doesn’t come for free. It comes with a price. However, the beauty of change lies on the other side of the pain. Once you cross the valley of germination, every bit of your investment in the process of change will pay off leaps and bounds.

Yesterday is too late to change. Tomorrow is a choice. Start today with what, why, how to change and deliver your commitment every single day. The change you seek begins right where you are now.