Change sucks. It doesn't matter what the change is. It could be as small as losing 5 pounds or as large as deciding to go to rehab.
Take a moment and think about one area of your life you want to change. It could be anything - your weight, your alcohol use, your career, your marriage, or whatever else is going on in your life. I would imagine that many of us do not have a shortage of possibilities.
Now that you have a topic, what comes up for you? I would imagine some of you may feel hopeful and joyful thinking about the change while many of you may feel pulled apart, ambivalent, scared, or any combination of the above. Whatever you are experiencing is completely normal. Anxiety, fear, and even joy can all be natural response to sailing into the unknown. And sailing into the unknown requires a temporary surrender of security as Gail Sheehy once alluded to.
However, I have a few important questions for you to answer that might help make the process a little less daunting. And I want you to genuinely think of what the answers are for yourself.
Why do you want to make this change?
What are the three best reasons for you to make this change?
On a scale from 0 to 10, how important would you say that is for you to make this change?
Why are you at [insert your number here] and not a 0?
Your answers to these questions will be the sails that keep pushing you in the direction you want to go even against strong headwinds and resistance. Anytime we embark on a different trajectory and try to change some area of our life, we will meet resistance - either from ourselves or from those around us.
There are few things that meet as much resistance as alcohol and drug addictions. The physical addiction pulls us in one direction while the consequences of our life and seeing the remnants of failed relationships pull us in the opposite direction. And whether changing your drug habits is what you want to change or not, we all have something pulling us.
The questions above will not only help clarify your values and why you want to change, but it will also do it without being combative either with yourself or with someone else. Because how often have you started to make a change in your life, have one slip up or not do it perfectly and then you beat yourself up? Or what about when your mom, dad, wife, husband nagged you to change even when you were ambivalent? These four questions help you and those around you think and decide for themselves what they want the change to be.
Remember that change means being in the middle space of where you are not quite happy with where you are but also a little fearful of where you might want to go. It's not an easy process, but it can be made a little easier but answering those four questions for yourself or asking it of those around you.
And if you are trying to get someone else to change, remember that telling them to do something is probably the least effective thing to do. Before you can get someone to change into a new behavior, you have to understand why they are doing the old behavior. Then once you know their "why" perhaps you can help them find ways of getting that from something different. But only if they are willing!