The Only Certainty in Life is Change Part 2: How to be Proactive and Plan Your Own Change — Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
Set your goal.
In order to have any chance of success, a goal has to be specific and clearly defined. For example, general ideas like wanting to live in a better place are too vague. Instead, you could formulate your goal as Every Friday afternoon I shall look online and choose spots to investigate Saturday morning. Such a goal is realistic and specific enough to measure whether you have achieved it or not.
Find your motivation.
However, a specific goal does not mean you will take the actions needed to achieve it. Despite your best intentions, you may be very disinclined to make the necessary effort. To strengthen your motivation, look at the potential benefits when the goal is achieved. Ask yourself why you want to do it and what you would gain from it. For example, a shorter drive to work, walking to shops and cafes, backyard play for the kids, etc. Only when the gain from taking action is more significant and more important than not taking action, will you do anything.
Have a plan.
You need to have some idea of how you are going to achieve your goal. Make a plan with definite action steps. For the above example, devise a new strategy for each Saturday. Based on the advertised inspection times, map your route, so you get to each potential new residence in time. Whatever your goal, for best results keep your plan simple and achievable, even if you only take tiny steps.
Draw on your resources.
Are there people who might support you with affection, affirmation, frank appraisal or aid? Is there something in your situation you can use to your advantage? What are your resources? How are your attitude (is the glass half full or half empty?), your strengths, resilience, determination, flexibility, and wisdom? You may be surprised how many external and internal resources you can draw on.
What about “failure?”
Plans often fall by the wayside. So you get despondent, consider yourself a failure and might even give up altogether. Such a situation is typical. But don’t take your non-compliance as a personal failure. If your plan did not keep you on track, it’s not you who failed but the plan. It just wasn’t the kind of scheme for you to follow. Review your program and use what you have learned from it about yourself and the difficulties of the situation. Then formulate new action steps that might be more do-able.
Accept detours Your action plan should not be set in stone. You might be going in one direction but encounter all sorts of obstacles. Sometimes the road to achieving your goal is not as straightforward as you had assumed. Be flexible and creative in navigating roadblocks and detours rather than letting them stop you. Review what you are doing and what is working for you. Don’t lose sight of your goal and look for new ways of getting there.
In fact, sometimes a detour is full of learning, and the real change occurs along the way!
Stay tuned for the conclusion of this series about change next week!