3 Keys to Making Change Manageable
I was enjoying a nice glass of wine with a friend when out of nowhere she says, "If I ever get cancer I will exercise a lot more, eat nothing but greens and other healthy foods, and meditate every single day." It took us only a few moments before we realized how ridiculous this was. Why wait until you get cancer to develop a healthy lifestyle? Is such a change so daunting that only a life-threatening illness can make it happen?
Sadly, that's often the case. For some, the only significant change in life comes at a time of crisis. We have the ability to adapt to just about anything when we have to. But somehow it feels easier to wallow in misery, or place blame elsewhere, rather than simply make the change.
Recently I spoke with a coaching client who said she was tired of things consistently getting in the way of her goals and dreams. She recited all of the things she would like to do, along with all of the reasons it was impossible to get them done. But most of her goals were achievable, so I asked, "Are these statements really, really true or are they just excuses?" There was no laughter this time, only the sad realization that the only thing in the way was her negative, fearful mindset about change. The good news is that her newfound awareness has already afforded her an improved perspective and I have no doubt that many positive changes are on the horizon.
When you recite your excuses out loud to someone else, that's often when you realize they're ridiculous. But you're so set in your beliefs that you ignore the little voice inside that says, "Really? You know that's a bunch of nonsense, you're just afraid!"
Acknowledge that little voice and create positive life change on your terms rather than having it forced upon you by the consequences of your fear and procrastination. Here's how.
Keep it real.
Entrepreneurs have to think big, but sometimes that's a shortcoming. Is it realistic to boost your earnings by 33 percent, lose 50 pounds, spend more time with the family, begin a daily exercise regime, change your diet, and develop and launch six new products in six months time? Probably not, but you'd be surprised at how many people set themselves up for failure by believing it is. Get realistic. Sure, we get to dream and reach for the stars but exercise your ability to succeed first.
Keep it simple.
Rather than living under the weight of unrealistic expectations, begin with a short list of things you'd like to change or achieve within a realistic time frame. Don't overdo it! OK, so you want everything now but you have to start somewhere. Have you ever noticed that you can live with your excuses for months, even years? Then one day you realize that if you had just broken your goal down into bite-sized pieces you'd have achieved it by now? Keep it simple; nothing has to feel monumental and overwhelming. As you tick these smaller goals off your list you will pick up momentum and build confidence. It's better to achieve one or two things in six month's time than to have achieved nothing at all!
Make a list of the things that may stop you from achieving your goals, but don't stop there. Now make a list of possible solutions and resources and use them to create a supportive environment. If you ask for help and become willing to adjust your way of doing things you'll find that just about anything is possible.
I can't repeat it enough: it's OK to start small. Build on these smaller successes rather than fail at the overly ambitious goals right off the bat. You will be more inclined to create ongoing change and improve your life and business one step at a time, rather than not at all.
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.