Ever thought about turning over a new leaf, starting a diet, getting a job; getting a better job? Maybe it was getting better marks in school, driving more responsibly, making smarter decisions or possibly minding your manners. I’m guessing you’ve made a fresh start in the past with respect to something in your life you wanted to improve upon.
Presumably we are motivated to consider changes because we want some kind of improvement in our lives; the things we experience in our day-to-day living. Our motivation could be triggered by a change in the expectations others have of us at work, someone we become romantically interested in who we’d like to impress and attract, why it could even be a health scare or impending financial crisis we want to avoid.
Seems to me that depending on the stimulus, we either get started immediately on bringing about the desired end result by enacting change or we set some arbitrary date to commence our change in behaviour. Hence we start our diet on January 1st, start exercising on the first of a month, or we choose our birthday to start to turn a new leaf.
Sometimes however we start right away. Should we get a speeding ticket, we might change our driving behaviour the second we are done with the roadside issuance of the ticket. We might visit the doctor and get some sobering diagnosis that forces us to re-think our behaviour and then we run out and join a gym the same day.
The decision of when to start a new set of behaviours and actions lies within us; we alone get to decide on whether to continue with our current practices or to alter what we’ve done in the past, how we’ve behaved, what we’ve said, shared etc. We also get the power to decide when to make these changes; once we have made the decision to change indeed.
Of course this is both good and bad news isn’t it? I mean it’s great to know that we have the power to alter our behaviours and actions by simply changing our thought process and committing to disciplining ourselves in ways that will ultimately bring about the goal(s) we wish to achieve. That’s obviously the positive. On the other hand, because of the very fact that we have this power of self-determination, it can be a bad thing if we know the result we wish to achieve and then we lack the willpower and commitment to actually do what’s required. Then guilt sets in; we may feel bad that we lack the stamina, the drive, the effort and the resolve.
The gulf between what we want and where we are makes us feel let down, disappointed in ourselves and consequently we lose confidence and may actually engage in self-destructive behaviour that runs contrary to what we’ve set as our goal(s). So the person who wants to lose weight and eat better but who fails early may become so discouraged they reach for potato chips and junk food seeking comfort in the very things they want to eliminate.
Here however we have to recognize that when we are seeking a change in behaviour to achieve desired results, we may have multiple false starts; we make a decision to do something and it doesn’t pan out the first time, the second time, maybe the sixth time. Each time we fail we have a new decision to make which is to either buckle down and try again or to concede and give up on making the changes necessary to reaching our goal.
Depending on the goal you’ve set for yourself the change in your behaviour may be overcoming years – maybe decades of what is now ingrained as your natural set of actions.
Now as change affecting your employment situation, (or lack of employment altogether), you may be one of those people who is currently looking at improving your employment situation. Your motivation might be an increase in your income, taking on more responsibility, new challenges, perhaps better benefits. Then too you might be wanting to get away from a toxic environment, an unpleasant boss, a nightmarish commute or a job you’ve come to no longer enjoy doing. In the case of no employment at present, you might want some sense of involvement; a sense of participating in the world around you, finding meaning in your day and obviously more income.
Trying to make the necessary changes in your actions and then commit to a daily schedule of activity that differs from what you are doing right now may be more than you can handle and you may as I say have setbacks and feel defeated. Stick with your plan, reminding yourself why you wanted change in the first place. Remember too that only you have the power to change your circumstances. While the economy, hiring and business practices continue to change, in the end we must take full responsibility for ourselves and doing whatever it is that we find meaning in.
Change could start January 1st, December 1st, next week, today; why even right now as you sit reading. Good questions to ask of yourself include:
“What do I really want?”
“What will I have to change in order to achieve what I want?”
“Is my vision of what I want bigger than the problems I’ll encounter in getting it?”