Life is Change, Growth is Optional

The gift of change is that we can see things from a new perspective. The cost of change is that it demands attention, and maybe more change. If we see the grass is too high, it has changed, and we may decide to mow the lawn, another change. And it’s not the same as before.

The mysterious glass is both half full and half empty.

The mysterious glass is both half full and half empty.

Change is a link in a chain of events. We may not control the links or the length, but we control the materials the links are made of. Choose your materials well.

Why love change? Because it is a new look, a new path, exciting and fresh.

Why hate change? Because it derails your current thinking, disrupts your patterns and demands more from you.

Can you love and hate change at the same time? Sure. You stand at the edge of the pool on a blistering day. Jumping into the pool will mean a shock of cold. But once you are in, it’s delicious.

What makes change hard? Two major factors: yourself and others. The rest is easy. When you decide to change, you have your past to wrestle with. You choose the path to change and suddenly your inner voice pipes up. “What’s so wrong with who you are now?” “Love yourself the way you are, change is a sign of self-hatred.” “Can you really keep up this behavior?”

If you want to change a habit, you’ll have to substitute the new behavior for about two months. That’s as long as it will take you to establish the new habit in place of the old. No doubt about it, they will be the longest two months of your life. You will invent a thousand reasons to go back to the old behavior–you just started a diet, you are stressed, now is not a good time. Honestly, there is never a perfect time, you have to gear up, crank up your determination and get busy.

Just when you do, your friends will start chipping away at your resolve. They will work as hard to stay the same as you are trying to change. They will give you excuses to fail. They will tell you they like you the way you are. They will whine that you don’t need to change.

Why are your friends so focused on sabotage? Because if you change, they will have to change. They will have to get to know the new you, they will have to change the way they treat you . And your friends don’t want to change. It’s too much work. It is a lot less work to complain until you quit changing.

Your friends can be persistent and threatening. Most people don’t like confrontation, and they do like their friends, so they cave in and go back to being “normal.” And there goes the path to success.

If you are determined to change, tell your friends you plan ahead of time and enlist their help. Ask them to support you before the chorus of complaints begins. Often asking for support not only makes friends understand that this is important to you, it helps you be clear about what you want. And talking about the change helps you be clear about what you want for your future.

That doesn’t mean your friends will always support you, but it gives you a better start. And a good start is the best way to start toward a good finish. If we keep going in the same direction, we will end up exactly where we were going.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and certified creativity coach. She runs training programs in business communicating and journal writing.