"I NEED CHANGE!"
(STEPS TOWARD EFFECTIVE
By Reydon Stanford
drug addict sits alone in a dark room, longing to be free from the chemical prison that is slowly stealing his life. An alcoholic
looks at herself in the mirror, remembering vague portions of her drunken stupor the night before and suddenly feels overwhelmed
with embarrassment and shame. An obese person walks breathlessly across a room to find some more ‘comfort food' to end
their nervous craving and hates the person they've become. A housewife looks around in dismay as the home she dreamed of making
for her family is filthy and disorganized, as she guiltily awaits her third soap-opera of the day. A father sits alone in
his chair, angry at himself for allowing his temper to get the best of him again, causing his children to scatter in fear
and leaving him feeling like an utter failure. In these moments of desperation and others like them, the human heart cries
The biggest percentage of people seeking counseling do so with a strong desire
for change within their life. Many of these people have come to a place where they feel like they have reached an emotional,
mental or physical breaking point and realize that without significant change, they will wither and die; if not literally,
emotionally. They seek counseling to help them figure out a path toward change and oftentimes even wonder if change is possible.
We often desire AND NEED significant change within our lives in order to further prosper or
to get ourselves out of the messes we find ourselves in. But how do we change? What are the first steps toward significant
change? Is real and lasting change possible? The short answer is: "Yes. As long as we're alive, change is possible."
As anyone who has conquered a figurative ‘demon' within their
life can tell you, Change is not easy. It is however possible, which is the place all change must start...the possible. Once
we stop the ‘vicious unhealthy thinking habits that trap us' long enough to see clearly for a few moments, we can come
to a realization that change is possible. Then we must embrace our need for the possible.
is my opinion that all personal change must first come with a change of mind. Since our emotions and subsequently
our actions follow our thinking, it stands to reason that change begins in the mind and then is followed by changed
emotions and then results in changed actions.
can first work to change our minds, we will find that the emotional strength and the actions needed, (to foster change), will
simply not be powerful enough to fulfill our desire for change.
We often think of ‘Will
Power,' as the missing ingredient we need to bring about the changes we desire. We might think: "If I only had the Will
Power to exercise everyday and stick to a healthy diet, I could lose the weight I need and want to!" Still, Will Power
is only strong when a person decides for themselves what their WILL is. For effective change to happen, we
must convince our minds that the changes we seek are fully our will and are not an option. When we waver back
and forth between the questions of: "can I do this," or "is this really what I want?," the mind cannot
move forward in faith and purpose, because it is operating in confusion. When confusion is present, we have little or no will
power to continue on the course of action necessary to effect lasting change. Why? Because moments of weakness will over-power
our desire for change.
Therefore, the first step on the journey to lasting
change is to MAKE UP OUR MIND that change is no longer an option. Making changes begins with a powerful choice
of our own free will. It is a personal declaration that "I will do whatever it takes to ‘have and hold' the
changes I want and need! Failure is not an option!"
research seems to indicate that when people make such declarations, (even to the point of writing them down like a ‘self-contract'),
the mind begins to empower itself to effect the changes.
The next step in effecting real
and lasting change is to research what methods are available to achieve the changes desired. This is where good counseling
can truly help. Whether the counseling comes from a medical doctor, articles on the Internet, or other valid sources, it it
vital to get a "plan of action" that will give you a direct road-map to follow toward your desired goals. These
methods might include medical help, a stay in a Rehabilitation Clinic, a strict diet and exercise program, etc.. Once the
‘method' or ‘methods' for change have been decided upon, the mind will begin to prepare the emotions. Since a
decision has been made to make changes and a ‘method' has been decided upon, the brain will work with the emotions to
assist those goals. Since confusion has now been dealt with, the mind can produce healthier, more positive emotions. This
will greatly improve your chances for making positive changes. Positive thinking, produces positive results.
Thirdly, it is important to examine your surroundings for roadblocks. If, for
example, you desire to lose weight and get into shape...the grocery list and restaurant list much change. Donuts, and frequent
trips to the fast-food restaurants must be viewed as roadblocks to your success. Every journey toward change will be met with
roadblocks. It is vital that you study your surroundings for these roadblocks and eliminate them whenever possible. Likewise,
If you are trying to break free from an alcohol addiction, you will have to view a social life through the bar scene as a
roadblock and therefore eliminate it.
Next, it is important that you surround yourself
with a SUPPORT SYSTEM that can provide mental, emotional and physical support to your goals. The Internet is rife with Blogs
of communities where people who are working to effect various types of change can communicate with one another for support
and inspiration. With that said, it is also important to distance yourself from people who might be having a negative effect
upon your chances for real and lasting change, whenever possible. The presence of a healthy environment and support system
is vital to your chances of success. Remember, you have a choice, (in most cases), to choose your personal environment.
BE PATIENT AND REALISTIC
The journey towards real and lasting change will require you to be patient in achieving your ultimate
goal, and realistic in how fast that goal can be achieved. In many cases, people fail in their goals for change by making
unrealistic demands upon themselves. For example, if you desire to lose a great deal of weight...it is unrealistic to think
you can simply quit eating until you achieve your desired goal. Such attempts are counter-productive and almost always end
All you should focus on is being successful TODAY in your goals.
If you will just eat correctly TODAY and get adequate exercise TODAY, that is a very reachable and realistic goal, in the
area of weight loss. The mind, the emotions and the body can handle a journey that is taken a day at a time. It cannot handle
a long journey that is being attempting all in one day. It is simply too overwhelming. The good news is; if you just reach
your goal TODAY, in a few months of TODAY'S, you will see massive change!!!
I try to be very careful not to write flippant or ‘feel-good,' articles, simply for their short-lived inspiration. I
realize how difficult change can be and that sometimes, it takes several attempts before a person really can reach their goal.
I do however, want to encourage you that change FOR YOU is possible. It's your turn! Now is the time to begin your journey
to the place of freedom you long for.