Change is incremental; it happens in installments. It’s also cyclical; each cycle of change the foundations for the next, taking us ever deeper into self-awareness. We change a little; sometimes quite a lot, then we pause to rest and consolidate. When we are ready, we go back for more, strengthening our previous efforts.
It can be frustrating for those of us used to setting goals, breaking them down and taking action towards the end point using our innate intelligence and readily available resource base. This approach works well for certain intentions. Running a marathon next year; gaining a new qualification perhaps.
It’s a different process when we want to achieve inner change that alters our trajectory in life.
I found myself overweight, exhausted, overwhelmed by unplanned motherhood, in a relationship unfulfilling to both of us and redundant from what I thought was a reliable, salaried role. Hmmm. . . Some desired change takes a little bit of unraveling!
The trouble is, personal change that delivers radically different results from those we are used to getting, is rarely straightforward. Sometimes we don’t even know what question we need to ask to get the answer we seek. It’s the ultimate conundrum:
How do I know what I need to know if I don’t know I need to know it?
It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack when no one told you it’s a needle you are looking for.
Significant personal change takes place over many years, a lifetime even. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gorgeous, exhilarating milestones to be achieved along the way; losing four stones of unwanted body fat in seven months rocked my world pretty effectively! Big shifts like this lead beautifully into others and it’s all rather magical and exciting.
Truth is, personal change is complex and multi faceted. To add insult to injury, much of what needs to change is hidden from our view and we need to do some serious sleuthing merely to bring it into our conscious sight. A great coach/mentor pays huge dividends in this area.
Evidence suggests that to establish even one new personal habit, it takes 30 days. A decade ago, I made a conscious decision to change my life radically for the better. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t a 30-day discipline. I didn’t know how to change the bewildering array of habits and realities I found myself facing, but there was a knowing within me that I wasn’t going to ignore my predicament.
I had a pretty good sense of what I didn’t want anymore. I had a few great ideas about what I did want, but my thoughts were not fully formed and my route to achieving them was less defined still. For what seemed like forever, I spun my wheels, creating vision boards, writing lists, attending seminars, watching money making ‘how to’ videos and seeking quick fixes that might work.
Intuitively I knew there was no ‘quick fix’ for my predicament, but some of the marketing of those approaches is award winningly clever and when you can’t see your way out, you look under some stones you’d never imagine yourself peeking under.
I spent endless hours lying awake at night trying to think my way out and into something better. It was exciting, frustrating and exhausting in equal measure. But it did something very important; it taught me to ask better quality questions. Questions I’d not asked myself before. It encouraged me to open my mind to new perspectives and opportunities. It got me curious about how others had achieved what I aspired to. It got me curious about all sorts of things.
Curiosity, I have learnt, is where it all begins: it’s the start point of any cycle of change.
I’d love to hear what you’re curious about, let me know in the comments below or via the contact page.