Changing One Choice at a Time

Changing aspects of our lives or behavior can seem daunting sometimes. Especially if we’ve tried and failed one too many times before, but change is crucial if we want to go for our goals and dreams.

That’s why I want to share a simple way of looking at change, that may make it more manageable and achievable. It’s about changing one choice at a time. 

Ready? Let’s begin with a reflection moment: 

Looking back at your life, can you see which choices contributed to  who and where you are today?

The change may be reflected in the person you have become, the life lessons you have learned, the people you have met, and the way your life looks today. We can probably all pinpoint at least one choice we have made, positively or negatively, that created a big turnaround in our lives. 

It may have meant: moving to another country or starting a new study, business or family of your own. Whether you said ‘yes’ at the aisle or ‘no’ to a boundary-crossing boss, both are conscious choices that can change the course of your life.

With that simple fact in mind, let’s have a practical look at how to create positive change in our personal and/or professional lives. Because it’s not always the life-changing choices that transform us and our lives for good. In fact, it’s usually the small and steady decisions that have a lasting impact. 

I love looking at lasting change not as the result of one crucial choice, but as a constant chain of conscious and ‘correct’ choices.

Each goal, dream or plan that we want to work towards involves change, so, we may as well befriend it and use it to our advantage.  Just how to go about it? Here below, I’d love to share four milestones that I’ve identified along the path which leads from inspired idea towards true transformation.


CLARITY AND COURAGE

It all begins with the courage to look at and challenge our current situation and then creating the clarity to change it.

Let’s start by taking one area in your life in which you would like to see a change.  You can make it more practical by engaging in this exercise:

So for this exercise, I will put on my coaching cap and ask you a question:

What is one area in your life, that you definitely or desperately need and want to make a change in? 

Maybe an answer comes straight away, maybe you want to journal about it, especially as we come to the next part: 

Formulating your desired change in a concise and positive way.

For instance, spring is around the corner and you really need to rid myself of these lockdown pounds. You then make it SMART by saying: 

I look forward to losing 10 pounds in the next two months by moving 3 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes, curbing carbs and befriending veggies. 

Sound more achievable? 

You can then KISS it even more by choosing one focus point, for instance the first one: 

I will exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes

Next, write those exercise dates/ times in your calendar and preferably find a friend or coach to hold you accountable. 

The reason that you focus on only one habit is -besides avoiding the overwhelm that makes us give up after the first week- that this will ignite momentum and soon lead to other positive habits in an organic way.

Ideally you will choose a change that’s big enough to take you out of your comfort zone but small enough to keep you out of your panic zone, they call this balanced place of growth, your stretch zone
 
It always takes courage to consciously clarify the change you would like to create in your life or in yourself. It can confront you with the fear of failing, the apathy of your past or the pain in your present situation. Just know that you don’t need to do it alone, you can always address a close friend, family member or a coach, if the confrontation is too much or the change is too major. Either way, I commend you for your courage to take. that. first. step.
 

And as you are asking yourself which one small step you can take to move closer towards the change you desire, you start unconsciously or even consciously committing.


COMMITMENT

Commitment is a crucial part in changing. The famous author/ poet/ playwright/scientist / (etc. 😅) Goethe may have inspired William H. Murray to write:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too.”

Commitment is like closing the escape door, eliminating excuses, so that the only direction left to move into is forward. This can best be done by declaring the change that you are committed to making.
 
First of all declaring your commitment to yourself, preferably on paper as this increases your success rate by 42% (!) and next, declaring it to someone else. This person can be your best friend or spouse, your colleague or your coach. The moment you decide and declare, you’ve already arrived at the next hurdle to overcome.

 

CONSISTENCY

Because as we well know, there will be hurdles. The alarm clock rings half an hour earlier to go running but it’s raining outside, your co-worker brings a birthday cake exactly the day after you had committed to stop having sugar for a while, or you made a strong start but slowly ended up back in busy mode and wonder if that goal was so important after all…

This is where the rubber meets the road, where your desire to change meets.. consistency. The more consistent we are, the sooner we will see success. 

Consistency is key, but it’s not easy. I see consistency as the constancy of conscious choices we make at each crossroads in our lives.

Simply said: the total of ‘right’ turns we take, one conscious choice at a time. 

This somehow keeps it manageable. 

From having a smoothie instead of a milkshake, breathing calmly instead of reacting from our primal instinct, or for my Christian friends, checking in with Christ each time before we take a turn at the crossroads in our lives. We can do this! 

It also helps to keep in mind that it takes time to change the patterns in our mind. They now say that it takes 66 days to build a new habit. So cut yourself some slack and, should you slip, simply get back on track. 🙂

 

CULMINATION AND CELEBRATION

Because at some point, the culmination of our conscious choices will have led us toward transformation. We will watch ourselves act and react in ways that we would have never thought possible, we will have adopted habits that make our lives much smoother and simpler in the end. 

These hard-gained habits will snowball into other positive changes. We will likely feel more peace, and probably also passion, in our lives. The reward for all the hard work.

So the next time you see yourself standing at one of those crossroads and the craving for chocolate (or your toddler) is screaming out loud, remember the transformation that you are after, remember that if you take the ‘right’ turn this time, the next one will be easier, at least eventually.

Also, once you reached that goal you were working towards, make sure to CELEBRATE and reward yourself! You may even excitedly embrace this process of choice-to-choice change with the enormous benefits it brings and the potential it holds for you and your life. Remember:

Change is just a choice away!

Wherever you currently stand with regard to your change process, I would love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comments below or contact me. I love helping you ahead to the next step(s). 

For now, I wish you all the best and that you don’t give up, but keep on going and growing!

Heart

Leave a Reply