Thought Catalog

You’re Stuck Because You Don’t Know How To Change Your Life

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David Preston

The Smallest Step Forward

The reason people tend to stay stuck in their circumstances, is because they expect change to come from outside of them, rather than from within.

It is as though they are waiting for permission to move forward when they must first take action themselves.

As the saying goes: Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

While some people have good intentions, their actions don’t line up to support them. Granted, they may have goals they’re pursuing, yet years later those goals remain in the distance because they didn’t act on them.

“Doing nothing while the world around us changes makes us an inevitable victim to outside forces,” writes author Scott Sonenshein in Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined.

I understand sometimes it’s easy to settle for the status quo by way of:

  •  Living pay cheque to pay cheque, instead of taking real action towards your goals.
  • Being in a toxic relationship because you don’t want to be alone or hurt your partner.
  • Working a job you loathe because looking for another one requires effort and change.
  • The pain associated with negativity is comforting because it validates the misery.

Most people are committed to change, but can’t get past the hurdles that inhibit their progress. They may begin with great momentum, though a month later they are back to a familiar routine.

Change must come from within; even the smallest step forward is enough to propel you in the right direction.

This step can create the greatest change in your life, but must be accompanied by well-intentioned objectives.

“When you change your language from balancing to prioritizing, you see your choices more clearly and open the door to changing your destiny,” state authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

Change Your Thinking

Change requires EFFORT. Stepping out of your comfort zone, digging deep, stirring up passion, and going for it with all you have.

Have you considered why some people are successful and others are not? Successful people work towards their goals and understand that hard work (and wisdom) pays off.

Staying in your comfort zone is not conducive to your long term success. You must venture into uncharted territory if you wish to experience something new.

Inspired action is the result of empowering thoughts. So, to change your circumstances you must change your thinking.

At this point, change is often permanent once the individual has transformed their sabotaging thoughts. This is foreshadowed by a deeper realisation which gives way to real progress.

I am drawn to the passage by author Robert Maurer in his book One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way: “Radical change is like charging up a steep hill — you may run out of wind before you reach the crest, or the thought of all the work ahead makes you give up no sooner than you’ve begun.”

Change requires courage and faith, yet has a ripple effect in our lives.

It can include a change in living conditions without having to move places. Sometimes, something as simple as rearranging your living conditions leads to a change in thought patterns due to the metaphysical relationship.

Similarly, a change in direction can trigger a shift in your career and is likely to reap benefits down the line.

Create Clear Goals

The change cycle reveals the six stages of change. Beginning with Loss, which is characterised by feelings of fear and being paralysed. It concludes with Integration, highlighting the satisfaction one experiences when settled into a new environment.

A new life is possible when you take consistent action, in spite of your fears and doubts. In this way, you make incremental changes without speeding up towards your future in haste.
Authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan remind us once more that “Getting extraordinary results is all about creating a domino effect in your life.”

“If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting. You want change, make some. ”— Courtney C. Stevens
It is important to embrace transformation because the knowledge gained is vital to your new way of life.

Without stating the obvious, life isn’t about ‘success’ alone. However, most people want to be successful without devoting themselves to the hard work to get there. If we’re not experiencing success (or accomplishing our goals and desires), something has to change.

Working with a leadership coach will help you get past the hurdles to create clear goals. An action plan to achieve them, and accountability are the keys to making progress.

Accountability is a motivating factor for those who seek change but don’t know how to go about it. You are inspired to work towards definable goals since you have someone to guide and motivate you.

“If you ever feel yourself dreading the activity or making excuses for not performing it, it’s time to cut back on the size of the step,” affirms author Robert Maurer.

What about you? Where do you stand in relation to your goals for the year?

  • Are you on target to reach them?
  • Are you moving forward towards them consistently?
  • Are you happy with your progress?
  • What would you like to be different?
  • What does your optimal life look like?

So many questions to consider. Yet, if you don’t examine them, you are likely to be drawn off-course by distractions and find yourself in a place not of your choosing, doing meaningless tasks.

I wish to leave you with a delightful passage from motivational author Brendon Burchard in his book The Motivation Manifesto:

“We have forgotten that courage is a choice, and that permission to move forward with boldness is never given by the fearful masses. Most have forgotten that seeking change always requires a touch of insanity. If taking action before the perfect conditions arise, or before we receive permission, is unreasonable or reckless, then we must be unreasonable and reckless.”

It is the sense of reckless adventure we must embark upon to bring fulfillment, passion and joy to our lives. Regret and resentment cannot dwell in the heart and mind of a person committed to their work.

Abandon your pain and disillusionment and reach beyond the comforts of your armchair to seek a life of wonder where dreams come true.

Dare to be exceptional. Dare to be bold. Awaken your inner spirit and alight the radiance of your highest self that summons you to create a life of passion. TC mark

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