For some people, things happen for a reason. With others, they happen because you make them happen. Simple as, right?
As my next chapter in life takes me on a road of personal growth and self-improvement – and if you’re reading this, I’d hazard I’m not the only one on this road so I’ll roll with ‘we’ – we often find ourselves struggling to come to grips with the desire to effect positive changes in our lives. We want to make the change – I want to make the changes – but for some reason I’m regularly left feeling that there’s something holding me back, stopping me from pushing that button. Sometimes I can put my finger on it, other times I can’t.
Whether it’s adopting a healthier lifestyle, pursuing a different or alternative career path, or simply breaking free from negative habits, the journey towards change can be equal parts exciting and exhausting, daunting even.
All of my considerations aside, it boils down to one fundamental truth that we (read I) must embrace, and it’s this – real change doesn’t just happen; you need to make it happen. If you’ve got a genuine, heartfelt desire for transformation, then you’re already on your way. My case in point, I reached 40 (at long last) at the end of May. In a nutshell, I take a look around the landscape and know there are a few changes I need to make in the quest to turn that 40 into 80 and beyond, let alone 40 into 60 or even 50. Family, lifestyle, career, habits, hobbies, hindrances. I know some things need to change, and I want to change them. Two months on and a lot of talking to myself about it, the struggle to embrace the desire for change has waned, now it’s about making it happen.
So why is it that we must genuinely want to make a change in order to make it happen? With a look at some things that may be holding you back (again, read me), here are seven reasons for you.
When we truly want something, we become fueled by an intrinsic motivation that propels us forward. This motivation serves as a powerful driving force that sustains our efforts even during challenging times. Without this inner fire, change may feel like an uphill battle, and the momentum to push forward may wane. In other words, you can’t half-arse things. Motivation can sometimes go hand-in-hand with accountability, especially if you’re trying to implement change over time. A lack of accountability can dwindle your motivation. But if you really want to make a change, and start noticing successes along the way – however minor – you’ll see that motivation accompany you for a lot longer than you may have given it credit for.
A genuine desire for change fosters resilience in the face of obstacles and setbacks. It gives us the ground to bounce back from failures, learn from our mistakes along the way, and continue moving forward with determination. Steely determination, if you will. Without a strong desire to change, the allure of comfort zones may outweigh the benefits of growth, leaving us stuck in old patterns. I’m pretty sure there was a sign up in the gym that said “everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone”, but I could be paraphrasing. The best thing about that though, is if you can get comfortable in being uncomfortable, happy days.
3. Sustained Commitment
The desire for change sustains our commitment over the long haul. That’s what’s supposed to happen, right? Consistency is key in all of this and sustained commitment is what prevents us from giving up prematurely and encourages us to stay dedicated to our journey, even when results may not be immediate. Real change often requires consistent effort and patience, and a strong desire acts as a compass to keep us on track.
4. Focus on Purpose
Having a heartfelt desire for change allows us to understand the purpose behind our goals. Desire, motivation, and purpose are again three words that are so closely linked in all of this. Our purpose aligns our actions with our values and aspirations, creating a meaningful connection to the changes we wish to make. You want to make a change, but why are you making that change? More to the point, do you really understand why you’re making the change? Is it for the right reason?
5. Creating New Habits
Changing ingrained habits requires deliberate effort and a willingness to step outside our comfort zones – this is going back to our resilience (above). Changing habits doesn’t come easy either, particularly if they’re the habits of a lifetime. Creating new ones – positive or negative – will be a lot quicker in coming around. There is an argument that the best way to create a new habit is to tie it to an existing one. The desire for change empowers us to break free from old routines and embrace new ones that serve our growth. It’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it? Processes over time become habits and those habits can help fuel transformation.
6. Ownership and Empowerment
When we want to make a change – a serious change – we take ownership of our lives and decisions. It’s you – you make the choice, and you make the change. For real transformation, you are the key, and you’re central to this whole process. This sense of agency or ownership empowers us to take proactive steps and be accountable for our actions. Again, going back to sustained commitment, there’s got to be accountability in there somewhere and if you’re doing this yourself then you’ve got to be able to hold yourself accountable.
7. Embracing Growth
A sincere desire for change means embracing growth as an essential part of life. It opens doors to new possibilities, fosters personal development, and nurtures a mindset that welcomes challenges as opportunities for growth.
Get out of your own way
This post is as much a note to myself as it is to anyone else, so I’ll break it all down again. Change borne from a genuine desire is the kind of change that can stand the test of time. Think of key life-changing decisions you’ve made in the past. How many of them came from embracing desire, whether it felt comfortable at the time or not? Getting married was huge. Buying my first new car was a massive financial outlay. Buying a house was an even bigger one. Starting a family, taking the next steps in your career, all huge.
Those desires and those changes become the bedrock upon which transformation thrives in every aspect of life. The next time you even consider some kind of transformation, take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and question your desires. If you’re truly determined to make that change, give it your all, fuel it with unwavering determination and boundless passion, and see what unfolds. Remember, real change and genuine transformation can only come from you – you’re the only one that can really make it happen.