Change is the most fascinating thing to me that exists! We all want it. We even have rituals that indicate the start of it (Happy New Year!). We normally want to bring about change in the beginning of a new period (I will start on Monday). Our plans for change are always good, healthy and wholesome (I want to lose weight or get fit). And somehow, we have all failed miserably in the area of change!
But what is this thing we call change? My first glance at a dictionary definition of change – “to make or become different” – was so disappointing. Surely there must be more to this word that we all want, yet struggle to attain! Then looking at it again, I was fascinated to see that this very simplistic definition actually describes a process (make & become), not outcomes. Yet, when we think about change, we think about outcomes (i.e. lose 10 kg, stop smoking, etc).
Maybe that is the problem!
Maybe we need to engage more into process thinking (i.e. how will I develop a healthy lifestyle?). If we think in outcomes (lose 10 kg), and we miss our target, then often we are overwhelmed with a sense of failure, guilt and shame. When an outcome is achieved, then we are happy and celebrate with a cheesecake, and a year later have to lose those 10 kg again. But when we consider the process, there can be no failure, because the process can be amended, shaped and grown as you engage with what works and what doesn’t. It is a journey of becoming and making. It is a journey of learning and becoming wiser. There is no cheating, because cheating is just an indicator that that part of the process is not good and a better way needs to be found. And as we journey and learn, a better way will be found!
But if we are less concerned with the outcomes and more with the process, then how will we know if we have succeeded? I believe that when you find yourself not only thinking, but believing, that “I can never go back to the way things use to be” …you have changed! It is not the fact that I lost 10 kg that indicates change. It is a true belief that I will never allow myself to be that overweight again, that indicates change. It is after the learning, the experience and the journey, that a true belief is formed that I can never go back to smoking again. Change then, when considering process, is a real shift on a belief level and I can help you to do this.
Be sure not to miss our next newsletter where I will give you a ‘starter pack’ to engage in the process of change. For now, get a piece of paper, your laptop or a journal, and start reflecting on your previous attempts of change. What processes did you follow and how did it work for you? Why did you follow that process and why did it not work for you? Looking forward to journey with you together!
Feel free to connect with me at email@example.com
by Cobus Oosthuizen