The first question I ask clients wanting to make a change is “Why Now?”
For there is no doubt that they (and you and I) have been wanting to transform an aspect of our lives for a very long time.
But the intrinsic motivation just isn’t quite there. The kind of motivation that is essential for lasting change.
Unfortunately too many people wait for something bad to happen in their lives before making positive changes.
This is a universal truth.
How do we “change” how we change?
We take two steps back before moving one step forward.
We pause. We slow down. We notice.
We open our eyes to all the possibilities.
We write our dreams down.
We take photos of what inspires us to bloom.
We ask for honest feedback from people we trust.
We acknowledge what gets in the way of our potential. Big and small.
We compile all the reasons why our best lives shouldn’t wait another day.
And we have fun doing it! Positivity has power too. 🦋
Why change now?
Watch My CBC-TV Interview: 5 Ways to Embrace Change
Another post that hit home. Lately, the observation of my life has been leaving me in panic mode. Knowing what I must walk through before I even arrive at the “fun stage” I honestly don’t even know if I can do it. So many of my choices I made today I would do differently. I just wrote a post about this …. change. How do we change? It’s not easy and it’s scary and confusing. And in taking those baby steps to work towards change, we honestly don’t know what we are doing yet at least we are trying. Ever since my Mom died, I’ve deeply looked at my life and have found it wanting. Instead of seeing the whole picture I’ve decided to focus on one piece of the puzzle at a time. And then the surprises happen …. seems when we are intent on changing aspects of our lives, those changes connect to those around us and those people change. VERY interesting process to observe in “neutral”. Thank you for the confirmation I needed. I’m still in the “scary stage”. *Breathe*
My “blink” response is to focus on the fun — in the moment — this helps fuel us for the (scary) changes.
A song on the radio. A delicious strawberry. The smell of clean laundry. A dance in the kitchen. This cool interaction between us. Sunshine. Birds. All the goodness of right here and now. 😊
One area of my life where I am always looking for change is in my art. I look for new ways to approach familiar subjects, ideas for new subject matter, but also new ways of thinking about the drawing of the subject, etc. I think it’s a good analog for change in other areas of my life — and I strive to use it as a motivation for the other aspects. It’s complicated though. We are always in balance between change and stasis since we need familiarity and continuity too. How much of the familiar, how much of the new. Finding what works and changing when what used to work doesn’t work so well anymore.
Thank you for sharing Aletha! Sounds like an intense and thorough assessment / art rediscovery process. 🎨
What compels you to change your art? What feedback have others given you? Or is this all internally driven?
Very kind of you to ask, thank you. Usually the desire to change comes from art historical sources. I see works of art from the past whose artists are doing something that I think would be interesting to approach in a modern way. Sometimes works by contemporary artists will prompt similar desire to try a specific visual idea. This sort of influence is very focused and idiosyncratic, relating to the art that I love. It might be similar to how musicians find new repertoire. It has to be within your existing skills set. You might decide to attempt something that you’ve never done before, but there needs to be some sense that you can figure out the new elements based upon what you already know. Thus it presents a challenge but not utterly radical difference. So I venture into partly familiar/partly strange territory. It is internally driven. Recently a friend sent me a picture through social media that she thought I would like, and indeed I did, and that painting was one that I look at and think there’s something there interesting to try in my version. Usually though I come upon new material randomly (I am always searching for things) and when something strikes a spark that’s when I want to follow some of that direction myself.
I want to find challenges. I like to attempt what seems difficult — the difficult idea reinforces what you already know because you use the existing skills to meet the challenge. It tests and sharpens what you already know. It takes you a bit further than you were. It’s incremental change.
I am just noting the emphasis you place upon “now” — and I agree that the “now” feature is very significant. Procrastination is the enemy of change, and its charms are illusory. So for example I was saying that I attempt difficult tasks but ones that seem at least solvable. However, say I take on something that turns out to be simply way too difficult. In art, at least, and in many areas of life this kind of failure is a big “so what.” Even in failure you learn “something.” I grant I wouldn’t want a surgeon to attempt the utterly new and different thing on me without at least practicing on a mannequin or something. But most of life isn’t surgery. And of course in areas like that, people still strategize how they can get from the familiar to the experimental with the least risk exposure.
But you do have to begin with “now.” When you get the idea that moment is the good time to begin first steps of its implementation. Even if you cannot accomplish it completely, the first steps are important to take. First steps might be as simple as writing the idea down.
After my husband died I had to make some changes in our house and I found it hard to move his belongings. I let myself have the period of grief I needed. But one day, I thought I have to move “these books” as part of a larger renovation, and to begin that task which seemed so big and portentous, I just took a handful of books off the shelf and put them on a table that was sitting near by. That was it. That’s all I did. But later I was able to do the whole task. I knew that even a small arbitrary gesture would count emotionally. And it did.
Holy smokes! What an adventure you have been on! Thank you for sharing your personal journey and triumphs. There is no doubt that we will all learn from your courage and personal lessons of change.
In response to your second comment Aletha:
Thank you for sharing your ongoing journey from pain to power. Helping people transform challenges into opportunities for growth is my life’s mission. You Aletha, are a beautiful example of the process.
thank you, Andrea!
We avoid change because it feels like loss.
While expansion waits quietly on the other side.
It sure does!
Thank you. These are the things that I really do do. This state however is intense. Bless you for reaching out to me! 🌷🌷🌷
My pleasure! Sending an extra dose of love and positivity your way. Today and always. 🌹❤️
I think that bad times just leave us with no choice (… wait. Sometimes we still keep choosing no change at all…). At some point we might (or not) experience a certain amount of awareness that naturally changes us.
Exactly B! And if we can pave the way between “what was” and “what will be” with dreams & unconditional trust in ourselves. We’ll finally see the light at the end of the tunnel aka our highest potential, that’s been waiting to be claimed, our whole life.🌟💫
Definitely in tune 🤗🤗🤗
I LOVE how you carried over our conversation from another post to this one. (Singing a happy tune as I type this.) You always know how to make me smile!
Excellant post and I think the Robin Sharma quote sums it up..
Amen to that! We’re always so excited at the beginning and at the end of the change. It’s the messy bits in the middle – where we forget why we started in the first place!
You might enjoy this post on staying motivated in the middle: https://drandreadinardo.com/2017/08/23/staying-motivated-in-the-midst-of-a-challenge/
Excellant post.. i go through phases where the middle is fine, another times i get a bit side tracked then back on course, then there ate other times i am rail roaded..
Great post about the midfle thanks for sharing.
OMG! You’ve done it again, Doc. I visited your site to save it in my Google Keeps because I am leaving the Blogging World. My friend Change is here visiting me and, I have extended her stay😊. Your post is alignment as well as a jumping off point for me to receive more clarity regarding this change. I appreciate you for being a welcomed contributor on this journey of mine. Thank you!
How cool is that! Definitely synchronicity in action. (Smiling as I type this 😉 I will miss you in the Blogging World for sure. But I am so proud of you for stepping out! Thank you for continuing to follow my posts (google keeps, so sweet) when you leave WordPress. Rest assured knowing, that my good vibes will follow wherever you go! 🙂
I recently took a course on Motivational Interviewing where I learned that all the advice I gave to others really wasn’t a good way of helping people. Helping people understand their own motivations for change, their strengths, their resilience, and for them to make a plan of action that is achievable. Intrinsic motivators are key to change with most people. I am in the process of learning MI and I am considering learning more about Positive Psychology as well. As always, thanks for you post Andrea!
Motivational Interviewing is brilliant. I refer to it often when working with nursing and healthcare students. So often we “tell patients” how to change – instead of inviting them into the change process itself. As MI theory posits, asking patients / clients what they’ve already tried in changing their health habits and behaviour is a powerful starting point. (As you’ve discussed above.) Thank you for sharing Darryl. You are right on point!
I am currently a student at my local community college where I am studying Human Services (psychology, casework, MI, psychopharmacology, counseling, etc.). I don’t know what I’m going to do with my education yet, but I’m enjoying the journey and will “walk-through open doors!”
How wonderful Darryl. I love how you walk your talk! p.s. Great choice in college major. 🙂
Another wonderfully insightful post! I believe that most of my anxiety stems from a fear of the unknown. This same fear usually prevents me from seeking changes – even when they are potentially very positive. I’m currently working on expanding my comfort zone to include the unknown, but it’s definitely a work in progress and I have to admit that fear/anxiety get into a stalemate with my motivation a lot of the time.
Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. For the most part, I have overcome the fear of the unknown. I have “unique” barriers, many opportunities that are not available to me, so I now use a “unique” approach to finding opportunities: Walk through open doors!” Rather than being discouraged by doors that are closed, I am encouraged by the doors that are open. This change in perspective is transformational! Have a wonderful day!
“Walk through open doors!”
I love it! Such a powerful mantra to live and learn by. Thanks for sharing your positivity Darryl!
You’re the best! Thank you for your motivating feedback. AND your personal experience of how change translates personally for you.
That said, I think you’d really enjoy my 8 minute interview on CBC-TV where I talk about how fear (aka resistance) of change holds ups back and how to break through to the other side. (Right in line with your ideas above.)
Link to Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUWGr_GwzhM&app=desktop
I love your butterfly quote!!!!!!!!
Me too! Instant reminder of WHY change NOW versus waiting for “the perfect time”. STUCK in a cocoon or FLY. I choose fly!
So do I!
Great post and I love the last quote it reminds me of hope for the flowers by Trina Paulus. Thanks for sharing.
And great video too. Wishing you all the best.
You are so magnificent, Andrea—such a gift to this world. Thank you for being you.
Great post. For most people, true long lasting change comes from a life changing event or something unpleasant. Also think most people are reluctant to change, but change should be part of our natural evolution as people. Hope you are well.
Always wonderful to hear from you!
Excellent points about change. Too often it takes tragedy to propel us out of our comfort zones. A place that is anything but comfortable for most.
But as we all know and have lived — too often we choose the devil we know fo fear of what’s on the other side. Not knowing that “The Wizard of Oz” is some punk hiding behind a curtain with a megaphone.
I say, like you, rise up and choose the change — in every moment of every single glorious day.
Very insightful, thank you! It is indeed very difficult to change, and I am currently in this messy “middle” part in my career path. But I can certainly see how rewarding taking the plunge can be. Lean into the discomfort!
Wishing you strength & hope during the messy part of the change. Your dreams are worth fighting for. And so are you!
That’s much appreciated, thank you!
I’m trying to transform into someone with healthy lifestyle even though as you mentioned ‘ people wait for something bad happens before they make the change’. Spot on. Something bad has happened in my life and I may be too late to change but better late than never?
Good for you! 1/ That you are willing to change, 2/ That you’re open to change, and 3/ That you are sharing your message with the world!
And it’s never ever ever too late to change. Bad choices. Bad decisions. Bad things — happen to all of us.
And if it weren’t for all of the above, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Living from a place of compassion, empathy, and understanding.
Proud of you!
Thanks for your encouragement. I feel more motivated to change now. Guess we crossed the same paths in my life. Bad everything… leading to compassion, understanding, empathy etc. Proud of us!
🙂 🙂 🙂
So powerful ❤️
See you at the top!
I look forward to it! xo
Excellent and thoughtful article, thank you so much!
Thank you for the beautiful reminders…your post breaks down what might seem unattainable into simple steps that indeed, ends in something gorgeous, just like the butterfly!
Thank you! If only you could see how big my smile is right now.
Simple, concrete concepts have always been my favourite way to teach and learn.
Wonderful knowing it helped you too!
Love the butterfly quote! 🙂
Glad you liked it Claire. It’s one of my favourite quotes on embracing change!
So simple, yet so deeply profound. 🙂
Interesting how that works. We are not motivated to change until something goes wrong. On the surface, that’s a “D’uh” idea. But it has consequences.
For instance, I believe it shapes religion. Basically, religions are often more answers to “how do I fix what’s wrong with me” than they are answers to “What is the good life”.
Hmm…I do believe you have just now inspired a blog post, my dear. I’ll go write it. .
Great examples of this concept Paul. And thank you for sharing how it got your creativity flowing. I love how bloggers inspire each other to write! I’m going over to your site right now to check it out.
Hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday!
I love that last one I made some art for “if nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies.” I so love butterflies. Love this post too. I’m catching up a bit I’ve been gone a little bit and not as active on WP. ❤