How to Make Change That Lasts

I made a big change recently, one that required a shift in what I thought was my personality. Here are a few things I learned about change.

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Step 1. You have to hate It. What is It? It is the thing you are doing that causes you to dislike yourself or your life.

If you want to change, It should make you miserable. Nauseous. If you are not fed-up yet, you need to be or it will be difficult to be rid of It.

For me, It was my attitude towards my son. It was my angry impatience, my yelling, stomping and tantrum-throwing.

In one day, the misery hit me good. I yelled at John, and there he stood, back to the wall, his face cringing up in fear toward me. And along came the misery.

Step 2. Get a plan to change. My resolve to change discovered a blog post from Lisa Jo Baker on Mom Mad, along with a simple plan: don’t yell at your kids for a year. It sounded impossible, but I needed a challenge.

Step 3. Get accountability. When the misery and the plan are in your head, Rationalization will come along and dilute them both. Involving other people increases your likelihood of staying in touch with reality when you want to back down. Accountability is one or more people who know your plan and are granted your permission to ask you about it.

I chose to write to you to keep me accountable. I wrote about my progress towards being a mom with more patience.

Step 4. Follow through. This is the last but maybe most important part of change. In the heat of the moment, the commitment to change is easy. Actually doing the work to make the change on a daily basis is the hardest part. It’s where everyone fails.

My plan and the accompanying accountability didn’t transform me over night. But I walked it out every day, yelled less, grew patient.

The first three parts to change, misery, a plan and accountability, form the greenhouse we build for our change to grow in. But the hardest part will always be the follow through. Returning each day to water it and care for the change. Cause even with perfect conditions, change will always be a deliberate act of the will.

Got some of your own tricks for making big changes? Share them below.

{Want to live on purpose with me? Get a free copy of my book, Dream or Die, at its 2014 release by subscribing to the blog for regular updates here.}

[photo credit: transitionuniverse.org]

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