4 stages of change
There are many theories of change and this is more a bravehearted mish-mash of how I see it right now as I go through changes past, present and future. The only thing guaranteed is change really. I know there will be changes that are forced on me and I will have to live with them and adapt and hopefully try and see the beauty in them if they are unwelcome. These stages of change are more about things we WANT to change or HAVE to change.
‘Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes. ‘
Stage ONE: Oh shit, I need to change.
Yes, denial has left the building. That niggling feeling that something is not quite right has changed into a full blown horn tooting in your ear saying ‘WE need to do this sugar!’ When the fear of staying the same outweighs the thought of what you have to do, you know it is time. It can be a positive feeling, invigorated by your ah-ha moment or a realisation that enough is enough.
I felt ‘enough is enough’ after a conversation with my ex-husband who just ‘didn’t know’ for the millionth time and that was enough for me. The line was drawn in the sand and I had to move. I was stuck and only I could get myself out of the quicksand. Sometimes I can be rash and just do something for the sake of shifting the status quo but that particular time I knew it in my bones. Whilst sadness overwhelmed me and grief was about to engulf me. I knew, and it was the hardest but easiest decision to make. I do not regret it at all to this day.
Most big changes you may feel in your bones that it is messing with your soul, your integrity, your essence or just feels ‘icky’ when you repeat the pattern and feels more and more so as time goes on.
The knowing gets louder and louder till you say ENOUGH! What’s next?....
You know now, and once you know, you cannot ‘un-know’
Stage TWO: This is too hard.
Where do I even start? Who will help me? It is all a bit big and scary and not really ME. The first bit, when you start is so new to your brain that taking that first step may be the hardest part of the journey. You are challenging your brain to rewire, you are having to use all your usual energy that you didn’t use daily, as it was a familiar habit, tried and tested and bring forth new resources to re-think minute by minute, or hour by hour, day to day a new way. Yeah, it is big! You won’t feel it’s so hard as you do it more but it will feel new and challenging at the start.
Recognising this is a good start. Be kind to yourself as you are strapping on those hiking boots to a new life one step at a time. It will feel easier and then a bit harder maybe, then hopefully it will just be ‘life’. Let go of the expectation that you will master it first time or 100th time. Behind most successes are a multitude of failures. Read about some of them. Richard Branson, Shaq O’Neill, Cheryl Strayed, Oprah even. You are in good company.
New changes may spark resistance in you and in others. People do not like change. Fear may rear its head and your mean girl may say “who are you to do this?” You just tell that inner critic ‘Who am I NOT to do this?!’ I hear this in my head often when I write a blog (You are not a writer!’) or say no to alcohol again. The negative beliefs that I am THAT girl who ALWAYS drinks and is a ‘laugh’ resurface. They are persistent and ingrained and sometimes I do give them headspace but I try hard to question or ignore them more often than not and replace them with the kind loving, best friend voice.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
You CAN do this. You may fail, you may fail many times but we can all get back up. It just might take time.
Stage THREE: Ah-ha, I get it!
Ah, the juicy bit where you get a super boost! Its beginning to come together. You get past that 10k mark. You are back in the jeans you wore 6 months ago or you do not reply to THAT guys text. One of the things that just clicked for me was meditation recently. I’d read books on it. I’d googled it. I’d sat on a cushion and got a sore bum over it but it just did not work for me. I kept hearing how groovy and life changing it was going to be and how I just had to ‘turn up’ and sit there. Well f*$k me it did not work and we are talking about a good few year’s of pondering this damn thing frustratingly- how zen ehh?. UNTIL – I got some guided meditations by Gabby Bernstein. 5-8 minutes long on my iphone. Sit up in bed, or on my lounge, plug myself in and well it was doable, bit sized, non hippy hard and well it damn well clicked!
I appreciate it every single day. Rejoice in it and I am grateful for it. Because……..
It ain’t over yet…
Stage FOUR: I gotta KEEP doing this?!!.... What the…?!
Oh yeah, this is the challenge and the bit that separates the attempters from the achievers. The keeping going bit. Through the hard times (Just have one drink, here have a bit of cake, come on! Hit the snooze button) you may fall down but you get back up and you are NEVER EVER back at zero. You will have learned something about yourself. You have rewired your brain. You can keep going.
Integration, discipline, consistency all take courage as they will take you places you have never been before and those places are SO worth it.
I do not want to switch on my meditation on some days. I want to have that glass of wine some days too.
However… If I play it out in my head where it goes it will go something like this…..
No meditation – cranky, unclear, testy day which will be tinged with a hint of desperation, restlessness and disappointment.
Wine – well if one feels good and takes away the ‘edge’ of course 5 will be EVEN better – cue nonsensical talking, hangover, guilt, shame, trash food, no exercise, total unproductiveness, no meditation (see above) and generally not walking my talk.
So, there you have the bravehearted version of change. A stepping stone to helping you make life a little sweeter.