Carol the Coach: Embracing the Struggle

Has anyone ever told you to embrace what you want to change? The secret of truly attaining success is seeing the positive in your situation despite the fact that you need to create change in your life.  This can be incredibly tricky, because most people who want to change are seriously disgruntled with their current situation.  They are disgusted with themselves.   They frequently are negative about their dilemma, or they blame others for their demise. 

 Yet the key to healthy change is to accept the strength that is in your current situation.  Once you have done this, you can move closer to meeting your goals because you have developed an appreciation for being in the present moment. You may fear that if you see the strength in your current situation, you might not have the motivation to change. But in reality, it is just the opposite. When you recognize your present-day power, it gives you more energy to make change. Reaching a goal requires persistence and stamina. You need a sense of positive energy to keep the goal alive. Staying positive helps you to stay motivated.

 When I work with a client who wants to make more money, we spend time talking about how their current income has positively served them in their life.  If I meet with a couple who wants to improve their relationship, I won’t proceed until they can convince me that there are several things, they appreciate about each other in their present state.  If I see a client who wants to lose weight, I ask them to list the things they currently like about their bodies, and their weight.  When I work with a single person who wants to find a mate, I ask them to discuss the many advantages there are to being a single person. 

What I know from my work with people is that it is imperative in the development of a new mindset for them to be positive about how their current issue has served them.  All too often, the client’s negative feelings about the problem sabotages the progress that they can make in their goal development.  In other words, if a client is to be successful, they must not loathe their body, their partner, their income, or their single status.  Maintaining a positive attitude is not only a prerequisite for change, but it is necessary to keep them going when they run into “dry spells” or hit plateaus.

 What would you like to change in your life?  Most likely, you have a list of things that could use some self-improvement.  Spend about ten minutes writing them down.  It’s easy to maintain them in your head, but if you really want to change, you need to write them down.  

Apply what you have learned in today’s column by writing down what you have enjoyed or appreciated about your current dilemma.  If you are having difficulty, ask yourself what has this experience taught me and how has it served me?  When you write it down you are more likely to make it happen.

I realize that this assignment is difficult, because it doesn’t look like you’re changing anything.  Yet, what I am really asking you to do is change your attitude, which is the first step in attaining success.  Give it a shot.  Put it down as Part I in the formula for a change.  It should make you feel better about yourself and will get you closer to the person you really want to be!

Carol the Coach: Change

People want strategies to change things about their behavior but many times they don’t want to do the things that are necessary to bring about change.  The dilemma is that they are not ready to make the personal alterations in their lives that will support results.

 When clients come in and describe their situations, I have a series of questions that I ask to remind them that the " desired strategies" are actually behavioral changes that they will need to implement to insure life-long success

  Does this sound like you? If so, read on and assess your willingness to do the work.

1.  Are you really ready to change?

2.  Are you willing to do what it takes to change? 

3.  What can you do to become personally responsible for your change?

 To determine your willingness requires some introspection. I would ask that you to spend at least an hour pondering the question, "Am I really ready to change?"  If you can answer with a resounding “Yes” then you need to assess are you willing to do “the hard stuff” to effect change?

 Unfortunately, about 60% of the people who come in for an initial consultation want to change, but they are not willing to do what it takes to change.  They are hoping for painless strategies that will make it easier to change. The problem is that change is rarely easy or painless. It is a lot of hard work!

  Did you know that it will increase the likelihood of success by at least 80% if clients who want to lose weight, will write down everything they eat in a food journal?  Unfortunately, many clients aren't willing to make tough behavioral changes that require discipline.  They want an easier formula to make weight loss happen.   Unfortunately, goal-setting is rarely easy.

 I recently met with a woman who was easily frustrated and reported having to deal with ongoing stress.  I explained that I could teach her skills like deep breathing and progressive relaxation to manage her stress.  In a disheartened tone she stated "I want you to help me alleviate the stress.  I don't want to learn how to manage it! She was clearly not ready to change.

Lastly, are you willing to change your mindset so that you stay enthused about the change? 

 Can you look at change as an opportunity for personal growth?  Can you get enthused about substituting your behaviors?  Can you create a positive structure to support the new paradigm?  Whenever you embark on change you need to meet it with enthusiasm and energy.  If you go into it with a negative outlook it will sabotage your long-term success.   Altering your mindset is paramount to creating change. 

 Your homework this week is to think of one small change you would like to make in your life.  Then, find some quiet time and ask yourself the following:

Am I ready to change?

Am I willing to do what it takes to make the change happen?

Am I ready to look at it with a positive attitude, focusing on the energy and excitement that it can generate?

If you can't answer those three questions affirmatively, you may not be ready to change.  Don't put the cart before the horse. Although wanting to change is a prerequisite for being able to make the very important behavioral changes; assessing whether you are really ready to do what it takes is essential for success.

 Change is exciting so make sure you view it with enthusiasm to increase your sense of accomplishment!