3 Thoughts On Making Personal Change In Your Life

“If you really wanted to be any different, you would be in the process of changing right now.”
– Fred Smith

I was listening to talk radio the other day. They were discussing who they thought the hardest working actor in Hollywood was. After going round and round, they came to the conclusion it was Sylvester Stallone. If you don’t know the history of Mr. Stallone, here’s a brief snapshot:

After getting no career traction as an actor in his 20s, Stallone attacked his 30s like any 5’3 man should…He wrote a movie where he was an all-American hero with unbelievable success in sports. He did this while working as a deli counter attendant. That movie was “Rocky”… he banged out the “Rocky” screenplay in three days, in between working at a deli counter and as a movie theater usher… and it launched his career with an Academy Award for Best Picture.

The moral of the story, at least for this post, falls in line with the following quote from Max DePree: “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” If you and I want something to change in our lives, it means we have to change personally. It starts with us.

Personal change just might be the hardest change you can make. Yet it’s also the most necessary change you need to make. Growth doesn’t happen without change. With this in mind, here’s three thoughts for you to consider as you make personal change happen in your own life.

1. You CAN change yourself but you CAN’T change another person.

The most frustrated relationships are those where one person spends a lot of energy trying to change the other person. You have the ability, the power, and the resources to change only ONE person in this world: Yourself. Yet there is an incredible paradox at work here. When you and I take the time to make the necessary personal changes in ourselves, it has an effect on the people and the culture around us.

2. You need to CHANGE the way you look at CHANGE.

Most people are change resistant. When it comes to making a change in our lives, even change that leads to positive growth, we often respond in negative ways.

a. We avoid it.
b. We complain about it.
c. We ignore it.

The first step to overcoming these tendencies is to change the way we think about change. Change is a fact of life. We’re all going to change. The good news is that, most of the time, we have some say in the type of personal change we’re going to engage in. This starts in our thinking.

Start by changing the thought, “I sure hope things will change,” to the thought, “The only way things will change for me is when I change.” Or instead of thinking, “I don’t know why I am this way,” start thinking to yourself, “I am the way I am because that’s the way I want to be.”

See the difference?

3. The NUMBER ONE challenge to making personal change in your life is FEELINGS.

One of my goals this year is to increase the number of posts I write on a weekly basis. Since January, 2012, I have tried to offer 4-5 posts per week. It is a personal change that has helped me in a variety of ways. But I’ll be honest – there are many days when I don’t FEEL like posting. I FEEL like doing something else. Even writing this post, I had to fight the initial feeling of doing something else. Some have called these feelings names like: the resistance, the lizard brain, the slacker mindset, apathy, helplessness, and procrastination.

One of the best ways to learn to control these feelings is by learning how to control your thinking. Our feelings are often a result of the thoughts in our head. It’s not to say that feelings aren’t useful. But sometimes they lie to us. It takes maturity and discipline to know the when to act in harmony with one’s feelings and when to act in spite of or against them.

At some point in his life, Sylvester Stallone had a dream bigger than his current circumstance. He had to make some changes in his life that provided the opportunity he was looking for. As a result of his personal change, he changed the culture by making “Rocky” a household term.

Think about it: What is one personal change you need to make in your thinking or your behavior to move you one step closer to your goals?

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