What determines your success or failure, and whether you direct your life’s change or feel like a victim of it, comes down to CHOICE. You can choose to continue on with your life as you currently are living it, letting the external world and your past dictate what you experience, or you can choose to create your life to be everything that you have ever dreamed it could be.

Even if your excited about transforming your life, there is an important obstacle you need to address in order to be successful. That we are often our own worst enemies!  We let our own negative thoughts and actions keep us from living the life of our dreams.  We limit ourselves, which is why we seek personal growth, to be free of the pain we cause ourselves, to make better choices, to feel better about who we are becoming, to give ourselves permission to be our unique, powerful, authentic selves.

We all have changes we want to make in our lives and goals we want to reach, but often get stuck repeating the same “change cycle” over and over again. We experience this process of inspiration and resistance when we face a decision to change. 

Change Cycle
1.  Discontent--You grow increasingly unhappy and discontent with an area of your life. You “hang in there,” tolerate, ignore, repress, or otherwise deal with the circumstance because it is comfortable and familiar, and you fear change. 

2. Breaking Point—Eventually your level of discontent builds high enough that you cannot take it anymore. You reach a “breaking point,” either through exhaustion or due to a dramatic event occurring that triggers the break. 

3. Decision—You decide you’re ready to change and declare that you will no longer tolerate the undesirable situation. You take the first step toward change, giving you a short-lived sense of hope. 

4. Fear—Usually, shortly (or immediately) after your feelings of empowerment, you encounter your fear. You become uncomfortable and anxious about the idea of changing. You doubt your decision. Both options look bleak. You feel helpless, empty. 

5. Amnesia—The fear of change grows strong enough that it makes the original situation look much better than you originally thought. You perceive the original situation as less anxiety-producing than the change. You’re used to it; it’s comfortable; it’s familiar. Plus, it has become part of your identity, so you resist letting it go. You temporarily forget why you wanted to change it so badly. 

6. Backtracking—Most people choose to go back to or stick with the item they wished to change. You essentially talk yourself out of changing. 

Inevitably, you soon will find yourself unhappy and discontent once again. Your level of pain will continue to increase until you reach another breaking point, this time even more extreme and more painful. This cycle will continue until one of two things happen: 

Extreme Pain: You have a breaking point that is severe enough to push through the change cycle. For many people, unfortunately, it takes an extreme circumstance to push them to evolve, such as major financial loss, job loss, loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, a severe accident, or a nervous breakdown. 

Your True Self knows what you truly want and will lead you to it. If you resist changing long enough, something will happen in your life that will put you in a position where you have NO CHOICE but to change. 

Self-Honesty: You have the humbling experience of realizing that there’s a part of you that doesn’t really want to change. You are comfortable with your habits, with what you know. You have a lot of fear that holds you back. You have many self-limiting beliefs. You receive some sort of benefit from staying where you are. You are unhappy because you want to be unhappy. You are addicted to the situation. You believe your pain is you; it’s your story. You can see your resistance to letting it go. Only after reaching this level of self-honesty can you truly choose to change.

Personal power is directly related to personal responsibility.

Can you see how this change cycle has impacted your life? Are you ready for it to stop? Have you experienced change amnesia before? If so, you know that the more you move toward the changes you want the stronger your fear and resistance will become. Are you ready to take full responsibility of your life, even if it is hard, because you are tired of being dissatisfied? Are you ready to take responsibility for your life and create the life you dream of having? Are you at the point where you will accept nothing less than what you truly want? 

Consider the following reasons you may have been allowing yourself to fall victim to this cycle: 

You don’t want to change. You don’t really want the thing you think you want. You may be trying to convince yourself to change to appease others or conform to what you believe you “should” do. If you don’t want to change, accept it. This is very common with people who say they want to quit smoking. They don’t really want to quit, they simply think they should quit. It never works. You have to want it. 

You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what you really want or you’re not allowing yourself to think about what you really want because you don’t think you can have it. So, you end up thinking you want things that aren’t what you TRULY want, and your True Self knows it. You’ll never feel inspired enough to follow through on change if it isn’t even what you want. Try imagining what you would want if time, money, and people did not limit you. 

Your dream isn’t big enough. The reward isn’t big enough. You aren’t excited. Happiness is excitement. Passion is what makes you willing to endure to attain a goal. What would you do anything to attain? 

You’re letting your fear be bigger than you. You don’t believe you can do it. You don’t trust yourself. You put everyone else before yourself. You’d rather tolerate severe pain than face temporary discomfort. Are you really willing to settle? Isn’t the fear of being stuck in a life you don’t want and missing out on your dreams more painful than the temporary experience of changing? 

You are attached to your problem. Your ego and identity are wrapped up in your problem, and you fear that if you let go of your problem you’ll have nothing to talk about. Who would you be? Would it be better? 

You’re benefiting from your problem. The benefit you’re receiving from not changing is bigger than your perceived benefit from changing. It gives you an excuse and something to talk about. It allows you to hide deeper issues from yourself and others. 

What are you holding onto? How does it benefit you to not change? Failure no longer has to be an option. Neither does doing nothing and staying stuck where you are. If you’re facing a potential change that’s nagging at you to be made, take some time in self reflection and be brutally honest with yourself. Is your desire for more, for fulfillment, for happiness finally strong enough that you are willing to encounter the obstacles and endure the fear? If so, congratulations, you will succeed—you are ready to break through!

If you have signed up for this blog you received with it a change worksheet. If you would like to receive these worksheets please sign up for this blog and they will be sent to you. 

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Comments

Whitney
06/09/2016 7:33pm

Love the cycles of change and how true they are for me. I have definitely been through the amnesia cycle before and find that I often will follow change readily, but become disenchanted with it and go back to what I know because I have told myself it wasn't that bad and it's comfortable. I wonder why it didn't occur to me seek another alternative?? This circling pattern is very pervasive for me. The worksheet really helped me get honest about what it is I want to change. Very enlightening!

Reply
Cowgirl Grit and Grace
06/10/2016 3:50pm

Whitney,

I'm glad you have found this post helpful and useful. With awareness we can choose to no longer repeat the cycle as long as we are in control of our emotions instead of letting them control us, which we will talk about next week!

Reply

Living a conventional life means living in the same cycle over and over again. But sometimes, we have to get out of our comfort zones to surpass the limit of our capability. We need to embrace change. On a personal note, change is a decision to make. It is a responsibility that can affect lives, not just your own, but also the lives of others. If we change for the better, we can also make this Earth a better place to live in.

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    I embrace life with passion and gratitude. I love connecting with others in meaningful ways and I share my journey with you in hopes that it will in some way inspire, encourage and as a way to grow with you!  I am truly a work in progress that has not arrived in any form of perfection and am continually learning and growing.  I hope you will share the journey with me.

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