Everybody, in some way, wants to make change. Whether it's a personal change to do with our own behaviours or circumstances, or an external change to better the lives of other people, we all want change, because most change is good. Change usually means progress. So how do we actually start the process of change?
Some kind of inward change sometimes has to happen before we are able to effect any outward change. This might mean changing our mindset, our understanding or our approach to something. External change might be to see our children behave better, and a personal or inward change that precedes this could be to change the way you react to their behaviour.
First, I'm going to give you 5 things to think about when you start the process of personal change.
How To Make Personal Change
1. Embrace The Change
Arianna Huffington: "Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me."
We have to truly accept that a change needs to happen before we can start the process. Try not to be afraid of change. If we're fearful of something it usually means we're unfamiliar with it, treading into new territory, or we may have experienced it before and not received the desired results- don't let that stop you from continuing!
2. Trust Yourself
Golda Meir: "Trust yourself, create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement."
When you've decided on the change you need to make, stay consistent in striving towards it. When you feel doubtful or tired, remind yourself of why you decided to make that change and trust your decisions. It might help to write your reasons down.
3. Consciously Do What You're Doing
Jane Goodall: "The most important thing is to actually think about what you do."
It seems obvious, right? But sometimes we get stuck in routine so much that our actions lose their intention. When we consciously renew our intention to make change, it's easier to make progress.
4. Check Yourself
Maya Angelou: "See, you don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
When we make personal changes, our motivation and ability to do so can increase or decrease throughout the process. This can cause our goal posts to shift and this is OK- as long as we keep striving in the same direction.
5. Know Yourself
Jane Goodall: "Lasting change is a series of compromises, and compromise is alright, as long as your values don't change."
If we want any positive changes to last then they need to be sustainable. For them to be sustainable they need to become a natural part of who we are- we need to enjoy it and want it. If we compromise too much on who we are, we wont achieve real change.
Let me know what kind of personal changes you want to make in the comments, and keep reading for tips on how to affect change in other ways.
How To Effect Change
Jane Goodall: "The greatest danger to our future is apathy."
First of all, we have to care enough to not only want to make a change, but to put in the work to actually see that change happen. If we're apathetic about the negative things happening around us we will never care enough to change them.
2. Think Outside The Box
Marie Curie: "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas."
When we become aware of something that we want to change, it's easy to take an emotionally charged approach. It's important to stay passionate about whatever the cause for change is, and who it impacts, but we also need to direct our passion, and our emotion away from people; those we want to help and/or those we want to help them from, and towards ideas; methods and actions that can actually achieve the change we want to see.
Jane Goodall: "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."
The reality is there are so many things in the world that we can think and feel need to change, whether it's within our own families or on a much larger global scale. We may be able to work on a few things at once, but we can't expect to make a large impact on fifty things at the same time. So we have to decide. What do we have the most knowledge about? Where can our skills and networks best be applied? And honestly, what are we most likely to truly dedicate ourselves to?
4. But Don't Limit Yourself
Michelle Obama: "There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made."
We all have different, limited amounts of time to give towards changing anything outside of ourselves. But we do have time.
5. Never Underestimate Yourself
Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Find people who are like-minded enough to work towards the same vision, but are varied enough in perspective and thinking to develop strategies and tactics that are comprehensive enough to achieve real change.
What kind of personal and external changes do you want to make? Let me know in the comments, or if you want to keep it more private, join our new private Facebook group.
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Find these quotes in this book (affiliate link).