Making Change

March 15, 2012

Making Change

I am writing this on a day when it might actually hit 71 or 72 degrees! It’s amazing to me how the weather in the Midwest can be so unpredictable. I think I mentioned in one of my very first blogs that I lived in the Phoenix area for about 18 years. I rarely, if ever, checked the weather report there. It was either sunny and warm, or sunny and hot. Very predictable weather in that part of the country. Here in the Midwest, look out! Things can change quickly.

Weather isn’t the only thing that can change quickly. Change is very much a part of our every-day life, and yet it can be difficult to manage. Most of us do best in our daily lives when we have a structure, a routine of some kind, that helps us feel like our life is on track. Routines offer us a feeling of safety, reassurance, and normalcy.

When change occurs it can really upset our sense of normalcy. Some changes we can prepare for and others happen more abruptly. Paula McGonigal, a writer for Psychology Today Magazine, addresses this topic. You can read the entire article at http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/39684.

McGonigal writes that part of the reason change can be so challenging is that most of us are creatures of habit, and we need to be engaged with or committed to the change we hope to make. In other words, we may need to understand why the change of habit needs to happen in the first place – sort of a “what’s-in-it-for-me” concept. The motivation to change – recognizing the benefit of the change- is key for most people. So weather we want to change jobs, lose a few pounds, or save more money, it has to make sense to us. We have to believe that the change we want to make is worth the effort, that the result produced will be meaningful, or that life will somehow be improved by the change.

One of the things I find myself saying to many of my patients is, “You are worth the effort.” Change is not easy for most of us, but believing in ourselves, even a little bit, and pushing through barriers to produce the intended result can increase self-efficacy. McGonigal defines self-efficacy as “the belief that you can make a change and overcome obstacles.” Imagine the increase in self esteem and self confidence that can come with this?

I invite you to take a look at something you’d like to change and take it a step further by trusting that “you are worth the effort”. Imagine overcoming the barriers that have been holding you back. What might that feel like for you?

Let me know.

Take care.

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