Time for Change

“If you don’t change your direction, you’re likely to end up where you’re heading.”  Chinese proverb.

Vote for Change?

In the UK we are in the throws of an election campaign.  The main opposition party, and favourites to win, have as their slogan “Time for Change“.  Its not unusual for politicians to promise change, and promote themselves as the agent of change.

confident changeWhat surprises me is why its considered a winning slogan – when generally speaking we all seem to hate change.  In our day to day lives we stick to ingrained habits – whether its what we eat, what we do, or how we think.

Desperately Seeking Something?

I recently saw an episode of one of my favourite television shows, “Desperate Housewives”. Like many locations in TV land they have more than their fair share of disasters and trauma; this episode was the post air-plane crash where several characters were in life or death (or life changing) situations.

The whole show was made up of flash backs and “flash forwards” – what would their life be like if….  Whilst these were big issues they were projecting, it was interesting to see that by scaring themselves with their “if…” projections the characters could make decisions.

The exercise can be equally startling and useful for any of us to do – but project with NO CHANGE IN WHAT YOU DO...

“What would my life look like in 5 years time, if nothing changes?”

It doesn’t have to be 5 years – chose whatever feels appropriate.  But remember to ask yourself after you’ve done it “Is this where I want to be?”

For most of us, change gets forced on us – such as being made redundant or some other crisis. Changing direction when not forced upon us appears more difficult. Even when we’re putting up with frustrating or less than satisfactory situations – until we reach breaking point. Its easiest to take the line of least resistance and do what we’ve always done, what we are comfortable with.

Honey We’re Killing the Kids

This was another television show I wrote about a couple of years ago in “what habits do you want to change?” Here they projected, in a quite scary way, what some children would look like if they continued their current poor eating and exercise habits.

Ethically somewhat dubious (what reaction would the kids get at school next day!) the programme, as ever, crammed change into a 3 week time frame. My thoughts then were:-

The idea of doing this sort of exercise is not to scare you or make you depressed. But the statement above ends “if my current habits don’t change”. If you like what you see, fine, don’t change. But if you don’t, the answer is simple – you need to make changes in your habits. Don’t do what they do on the TV show and make drastic changes in 3 weeks. Using problem solving to decide what changes you’d like to make, then plan how you you do them. Then – action.

The exercise in question being to project your own life as a way of reviewing your current habits and behaviours, as above.  Whether or not you set goals, are you heading in the right direction?

Do you have to wait for a crisis to make those changes? Of course not. And do you have to scare yourself silly with an image of what might happen if you don’t change? Again, no, and its not always going to be a motivator. Many smokers, drinkers and over eaters know the consequences of their habits, but chose not to dwell on this image.

But it can be a kick-start, if you are honest with yourself.  Only you can answer whether or not the direction you’re heading is where you want to be. And even if you make no changes, you’re still heading somewhere!

photo by somedriftwood on flickr

Corinne Edwards April 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm

This is so true –

“Only you can answer whether or not the direction you’re heading is where you want to be. And even if you make no changes, you’re still heading somewhere!”

That’s for sure.

We are watching the UK elections with great interest.

David April 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I’d be fascinated to see the coverage you get of our elections; despite the rhetoric non are really promising anything substantial as there’s huge Government debts to sort out!

Bruce "the Mid-Life Mentor" April 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Americans never think they need to change. We think that everything that happens to us that is “bad” is caused by something “foreign” that is affecting us. Whether it is the government, bacteria or viruses, evil CEOs of corporations, anything except our own will and habits. Everything good is from our great decisions and effort and we think we are another Horatio Alger. Your blog post puts this into perspective, analysis first, decisions second, then slow steady implementation. Thanks David
.-= Bruce “the Mid-Life Mentor”´s last blog ..BREAST CANCER RISK – Reduce YOURS =-.

David April 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Well thanks for your comment and thoughts Bruce. From the sound of things Americans are little different to most folk in the UK, probably most of the Western world. Folk are reluctant to take responsibility for themselves, always wanting someone to blame.

Kate April 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm

What a great post. I think we all have a couple of things we want to change, whether small or life changingly large. Often fear can prevent us from change and this exercise would be a great exercise to overcome that.
Many thanks,

David April 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Thanks Kate for your kind words; the issue is will people try it!

Debbie @ Happy Maker April 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I believe life is changing. If nothing ever changes then we don’t grow mental like would should. It is learning to react to change that counts. Say for example on losses there job. They may not think this is a good change, but I always say when one door closes and better one is going to open up. This way you can react to change in a positive way, not negatively. That is my thoughts.
.-= Debbie @ Happy Maker´s last blog ..Secret to happiness is Feeling Fearless in Your Clothing =-.

David April 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Debbie, I’m currently reading “Feel the Fear…” by Susan Jeffers (for the first time) having attended a workshop based on her book. Whilst the post isn’t about her ideas, she is very strong on taking the good from any outcome. Well worth reading. David

Donna April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

Great article, and so timely for me. I can usually see so many options I find it hard to pick just one and make a decision. But I can see using your strategy and just extending it a bit for each option. Often too I just need that kick in the butt to change. Your strategy appeals to me because it’s so simple, yet powerful. Thanks!
.-= Donna´s last blog ..Simply Raw and Raw For Life 50% Off =-.

David May 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

Donna – thanks for the comment and good luck trying out the strategy!

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