If you’ve ever tried to make a change for the better in your life, you may find yourself running up against a bunch of doubts. This is especially true if you’ve been working at the change for a while and don’t feel like the hard work is paying off.
You may start questioning yourself or your efforts by asking yourself –
- When do things get easier?
- When will I start to experience the benefits of these changes?
- Have I already started to experience the positive effects and benefits of the changes but I’m just not recognizing them?
As much as we wish there were crisp, clean, and definitive answers to these questions, the path toward change is more of a learning process. And that learning process is probably much longer than we’d like it to be!
SHOULD I STICK WITH IT?
Knowing that, we often can’t help but as ourselves corresponding questions of determination —
- How long do I stick with these changes?
- How can I even tell if and when I should stick with changes?
TIP: Contextualize your journey.
If you find yourself becoming frustrated or impatient with the pace of change, try reminding yourself that you’re probably in the uncomfortable and messy middle ground. This will help you contextualize your journey so you stay the course and keep pushing forward. It’s in this middle ground where you’ll begin to find and realize the benefits of the changes you’re trying to make.
AM I MAKING THE RIGHT CHANGES?
If you happen to be the type of person that’s pretty good at sticking to a plan once you develop it and find that carrying the plan through to completion isn’t a big problem, you still might find a different problem emerge, which can be as big, if not a bigger, impediment to realizing change.
This problem leads to a third question of determination –
- How can I tell if the changes might need to be adjusted along the way?
- Is it my best option to keep my head down and continue to barrel forward with the original plan?
I tend to fall into this trap personally. The problem we often stubbornly refuse to recognize when it might be time to diverge from the original plan and be flexible enough to start making different changes.
This difficulty often arises when we approach a fork in the road where we have to decide on one direction over another. During these times, you may find yourself in that middle ground, between the way things have been and the way that they’re going to be.
TIP: Remember either/or choices still open many other doors in the future.
To avoid this type of problem on your journey toward change, rather than just charging forward, try to remind yourself that the forward direction can point toward a long, expansive horizon and not just a laser-focused point on the horizon.
If you’re the type (as I am) to set a course and charge full-steam ahead until you reach the destination you set before the journey began, you might zero-in on that laser-focused point on the horizon and charge toward it, oblivious to any other indications or signposts that may have existed along the way to guide you along an easier and better path.
I personally still have to consciously fight this heads-down tendency and find that at least being aware of it reminds me to keep my eyes up, open, and wide, while also being aware of indications or signposts, allowing them to guide me on the path forward toward the more expansive and wider horizon.
TIP: Every two weeks, take note of your journey so far and ask yourself if the changes you are making are really brining you closer to your goals.
If you can remember to do this, you may find that rather than continually struggling toward an elusive destination you set long ago, things begin to get easier as the signposts guide you down a better path.