Elements of Change by Chris Widener

The key to achieving more than you currently are, no matter which area of your life or work you are focusing in on now, is change. The old saying rings true: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve already got. If you keep eating and exercising the way you currently are, you will weigh the same a year from now. If you continue to sell to the same people on the same schedule, you will make the same amount of money next year. In order to move forward, we must change.

As I have worked with people, both in a professional setting and on a personal basis, I have found two things to be true about change. One, it is simple. Two, it is not easy. That is, the concept of change is simple to grasp. People or organizations are quick to say, “Oh, I know we need to change.” Simple.

But where the problem starts, and why most people and organizations do not change, is because it is not easy to change. But, I believe, if the process is well-thought-out, and if we have the guts and determination to carry it out, change can happen, and we can move on to more fulfilled lives.

With that said, let me give you what I consider the elements of change.

Discontentment with your current state. The first step in the process of change is to not want to be where you currently are. You must be discontent with it. If you are overweight, you must say, “I will not accept this anymore.” If you are in debt, you must say, “I cannot tolerate this any longer.” If you have broken relationships, you must say, “I will not live with this.” This is a decision to change and not accept the status quo.

The picture of your preferred outcome. What is it that you want to change to? It absolutely is not enough to say, “I need to change.” It must be: “I am going to change to….” This becomes the goal. I would encourage you to get a mental picture of it formulated in your mind. Get a real picture of it if it is that tangible. Perhaps write yourself a short essay, extolling the virtues of what life will be like when you get to the changed state.

New associations with the two states. You must begin to associate your current state you are in with pain and the state you want to be in with pleasure. For example, let’s take weight. We tend to think of ice cream, mounds of it, with pleasure. I know I do. Especially chocolate-chip mint. I like huge portions of ice cream. There is an association of pleasure there. But what I did to overcome the urge to eat scoop after scoop was to associate huge portions to being overweight, not the pleasure of the taste. I also associated not eating the ice cream with feeling better about myself. Then, when it comes to exercise, I work on associating exercise and weightlifting with the pleasure of fitting into my clothes, rather than the pain my muscles feel every time I do it. This helps me win the battle of the mind.

Develop a plan of short, simple steps. “I am going to lose 50 pounds in two months.” “I will sell 500 percent more next month.” These are examples of changes that are good goals to have long term, but too big for the time allotted—and this is havoc on change! If your goals are too big in too short of time, you will fail and become discouraged. Then you will quit and decide change can’t be accomplished. Instead, you must have short, workable, attainable goals if you are going to see real change happen and stay. “I am going to lose five pounds a month for 10 months.” “We are going to sell 6 percent more each month this year (that would double your business each year).” These are the size of steps you need to take. Then you will build victory after victory.

Discipline yourself. Sorry, but this is where it is up to you. At the heart of change is the ability to discipline ourselves. I cannot lose your weight. Your mom cannot go out and make sales calls for you. The only real obstacle standing between your current state and your desired outcome is you! So do everything you can to get yourself motivated to change! Force yourself to get out of bed and get to work on your goals! Discipline yourself. Choose to make the right decision.

Reward yourself when you have made the change. That’s right: Reward yourself. You have worked hard and exerted a lot of self-discipline to get there! You deserve it!



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