When it comes down to it, what I do for a living is help people create change. Every single person who has stopped by my website to learn about online workshops, or called me to inquire about my coaching services or in-home organizing was in some way dissatisfied with their current situation. They wanted to make a change. Maybe they were overwhelmed and didn’t know how to begin the organizing journey, or maybe they were tired of feeling as if their home (or life!) was controlling them, instead of the other way around. Regardless of their specific reason for looking for simplify 101, everyone who has ever looked for a professional organizing company, at some level, wants to create change.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the change process. Below are seven strategies that will help you create the change you crave in your home and life.
Strategy 1: Decide what you want.
The first step in any change process is to decide what you want. Often, though, this is easier said than done. Why? Well, have you ever let yourself daydream about something better—a more organized home, or a better job or losing that last 15 pounds—when all of a sudden there’s a little voice that chimes in tells you why you can’t or won’t do it? Perhaps your little voice reminds you of the last time you tried and it didn’t turn out how you wanted. Or maybe the chatter in your head is telling you that you’re being selfish, or you don’t have the time or “how on earth are you going to do that?” Regardless of the exact message, to decide what you want, you have to silence that voice for a little while. Simply tell her I am not being selfish, or I will find the time or I will figure out how to do this! Then, quickly turn your attention back to deciding what you want.
Strategy 2: Create a benefits list.
Once you decide what you want, it’s time to become really clear about why you want it. What benefits will you experience as a result of creating this change in your life? Pull out a piece of paper and start listing everything that pops into mind. Then, dig a little bit deeper. How will you feel? What will it look like? Write down as many reasons as you can come up with as to why you want this change. This list will cement your commitment to making the change and will help you stay motivated throughout the process.
Strategy 3: Identify potential obstacles before you encounter them.
Here’s something to keep in mind: Change is a process; it isn’t an event. You don’t simply declare what you want and see it in the next instant. Instead, you decide what you want, and you begin taking steps to make it happen. And along the way you will encounter some roadblocks. (Please notice that I didn’t say you might encounter some roadblocks—I used the word will.)
Here’s the cool thing—when you anticipate a speed bump (and respond accordingly), it’s much less jarring to your system than if you didn’t see it coming. When you’re out driving in your car and you see a speed bump coming, you simply slow down and adjust, instead of slamming on the breaks and stopping your journey altogether. Right? Use the same thought process when you create change in your life. Anticipate the obstacles and when they arrive, look at them as a normal part of the process, instead of a reason to stop.
Strategy 4: Get support.
I believe everything is more fun with a friend along for the ride. Not only will you enjoy yourself more, when someone is there to support you and cheer you on as you create change, you’re much more likely to succeed. So enlist the help of a friend and ask her to be your accountability buddy. Or join (or create) an accountability group. As you create your own change, it’s very motivating to surround yourself with people who are improving their lives, too. As you support and encourage others, you solidify your own commitment to the changes you’re making. Or consider getting the help of an expert. Whether your goal is to lose weight, organize your home or earn more money, there is an expert out there ready to help you succeed.
Strategy 5: Identify one small step that will move you forward.
It has been said that every journey begins with a single step. Often, though, we don’t take that very first step because we aren’t sure about all of the other steps we’ll have to take after that first one. You don’t have to know the entire way to your goal before you start taking action. Simply identify a step you could take—it doesn’t have to be the perfect step or the best step—just a step that will move you in the direction you want to go.
That’s right. Once you’ve identified a step that you could take to move yourself forward, go out there and take that step. If you’ve already thought of a step you could take to move you closer to your desired outcome, go do it now. Step away from the computer and go take that step. The rest of this newsletter (and the rest of your change journey) will be waiting right here when you get back….
Strategy 7: Do it again.
If you did get up and take that forward step, I bet you’re feeling pretty motivated right now! You’re on your way…and it feels good. And guess what? You’ve taken the hardest step. All that’s left to do now is keep repeating strategies 6 and 7 until you create the change you desire.
Remember, you will encounter obstacles along the way. But when you give yourself permission to want what you want, list the benefits you will realize as a result of your change and set up a support system to help you navigate through the obstacles—you will get there!
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