Manifesting Change - Part 1
Updated: Feb 9, 2021
"New year, new you." "This is going to be the year I..." " I'm going to ... in 2021." The variations go on an on. All highlight the start of the year as the time to make big changes, set goals and get motivated. And then by February we find ourselves back in familiar habits, goals forgotten or given up on and motivation all but out the window. We want to change something and yet we feel unable to make it happen... or to make it last.
We humans are resistant to change. In general, we don't like it much, especially drastic change. And yet like death and taxes, change is one of the few things you can always count on to happen... whether we like it or not, whether we are ready for it or not.
Most likely, the things that are changing are out of your control (like a global pandemic) and yet we can choose how we respond to change. Now don't worry, this is not another blog about accepting things you cannot control and finding the gift even in the most dire situations (something I advocate by the way). This is about manifesting change... in other words, bringing it into your life and making it last.
I've been called a change master, mostly because I've changed a lot throughout my life, but also because I've chosen to. There was something I wanted to be different so I worked to change it. And now, I'm going to share my secrets (mostly learned when I have failed miserably but also when I've been successful). Over the years, between 5 career changes, 5 countries lived, a lost-count number of states moved to, I have figured out that there are 5 components to manifesting change and they are applicable whether your an athlete, a CEO, a student or stay-at-home mom.
Five Components for Manifesting Change
Introspection is about looking at yourself. All of yourself. Including the pieces you might not like so much and the pieces you might not realise are even there. For me, I'm not what you would call a regimented person. Routine and I are not friends. I've known this for a long time and yet whenever it comes to making changes in my life, guess what, I have to look at my resistance to this. If I don't, the changes will not happen. It's not that being unregimented is a bad thing, it's just that it is a way of being that is unsupportive to manifesting change.
Something that goes with this but something I've only recently discovered is that my happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow personality, is not helping with change either. It makes it really easy for me to adapt to externally imposed changes (like starting my own business after getting made redundant) but it also can cause me to avoid things that go against my natural personality. Specifically when things make me uncomfortable, whether that is physically (hello DOMs) or mentally (IOW outside the comfort zone).
Looking back at my time as an athlete I can clearly now see that I did not do nearly enough (okay I didn't do any) introspection. I never learned what caused my stress during horse shows or why certain exercises under saddle were so painful for me I just lived with it, sucked it up and took it as part of the path I was one. Now I know, my stress was because I was comparing myself to all the great riders around me instead of comparing to myself from the year before. And I know now the pain is because I have a predisposition to back injuries and should have been wearing a support belt.
So now, when I want to make a change in my life, (like this year, I've set the goal to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes, a goal I've had for years) I start with a look at myself and I in this case I saw those two areas specifically need to be managed if I was going to accomplish this goal. And you'll have to do the same. Take a look and take the time to really know who you are naturally (not who the world says you're supposed to be) and see what might have to be overcome when you want to change.
This one might see obvious but there is something additional I want to add. Yes, you need motivation to make changes. I don't know anyone who changes just for the sake of it. There is always a reason, even if it's an unconscious one.
Motivation is "the why" you are making the change. Whether it's changing your eating habits to get in shape for summer, riding as many horses as you physically can in one day because they need a "tune-up" before their junior riders arrive to show the next day or staying after practice every day for two hours to shoot free-throws because you've missed at least one in the last three games, you have a why for what you're doing.
But when it comes to manifesting change and making it last, understanding your why beneath the why is most important. Why do you want to be in shape for summer, instead of in shape all the time? Why do you have to ride so hard and so many that you physically exhaust yourself. Why does it matter that you make every single free-throw?
Not understanding my why under the why around my goal of meditation was one of the real reasons I struggled with this goal for so long. The why was to gain a greater sense of peace and calm in my life which is a pretty common reason I think for people to take up meditation. However, I never looked at why I wanted to gain a greater sense of peace and calm in my life. At least not until my stress level landed me in hospital and I found out that I am particularly susceptible to stress illnesses (like hypertension). So wanting to be healthy and live a long healthy life meant I needed to reduce my stress level. Well running your own business is not conducive to a low-stress life, especially in the first few years. This is my why beneath the why of meditation.
Come back next week for the next installment of Manifesting Change.