From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Resolving to Change Ourselves
Let's face it. I'm in the business of helping people make changes. So I have quite a
bit of confidence in people's abilities to make changes successfully. But around here, a
lot of folks like to think they're trapped. Some of us feel that our lives are like
trains, attached to a certain track, headed in a certain direction, and caught between
circumstances that we can't control. And if that's the underlying philosophy, it is easy
to feel trapped.
But what if that train were more like a car, where the driver can make decisions. Where
would you choose to go? How would you make tomorrow different from today? Although we are
realistically committed to certain relationships and environmental constraints in life, it
is always possible to change. Even when we can't change external things in our lives, we
remain in charge of how we feel on the inside.
- The fuel for change is self-esteem. A common complaint is that people
don't like themselves as they are. Making changes successfully requires starting precisely
at this point. In order to do good things for ourselves (for example, eating right, losing
weight, getting in shape, finding new relationships, getting a new job), we must start by
liking ourselves well enough to want to help ourselves. Its similar to the way we might
take the hand of our best friend and lead them to a better place. We would need to give
them encouragement all the way.
- Set a goal for yourself in the desired direction. Its also important to
have a clear image of the direction in which you want to change. Like the old saying goes,
if you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there. Once you've decided on
your goal, realize that there are many ways to get there. As human beings, we have the
capability to decide about our future through a continuous process of daily decisions. Why
not take advantage of this ability?
- Accept detours but stay on course. Change is a continuous process of
two steps forward, one step back. When you expect to have setbacks, you are also better
prepared to handle them. When driving, we often make wrong turns, but we usually don't
decide to abandon the whole trip...we simply figure out where we are and decide the best
way to get back on course. Understanding that its likely that you'll get lost when going
to a new place, it helps to refer to a map and ask for help, if needed, along the way.
- Enjoy your new way of being. As you pursue your new goals, take time to
enjoy and appreciate your progress. We often think of change like its an all-or-nothing
event, when actually, the mere process of setting a goal is change in itself. All progress
counts and every day can be a little bit better just by virtue of the decisions we make.
Remember ... self-encouragement is a daily requirement.
As we head into yet another season of the year, its a great time to consider your next
course of action. As the song in the play, "Oliver" goes, "I think I better
think it out again". Fortunately, you can!
ęCopyright, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated October 25, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,