Is there a message for all of us to consider as we traditionally look at making change as we enter a new year?
It’s not just any change. It’s change that moves you from where you are in the present into an expanded view of your life, or in ways to improve your wellness and well-being whether that be health, relationship or business choices.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.~Lao Tzu
In the process of making any change, there is the need to first learn from where you are standing now. I remember listening to Jean Houston speaking several years ago about making change at the quantum level. She spoke of the mechanics of a quantum leap where an electron jumps into a new expression of something greater than itself on its own. However, before this happens, the molecule creates homeostasis. This applies to your life in the same way in the beginning stages of making change as a place of getting in touch with your feelings, thoughts and insights of that have brought you to the need to make change in the present as an essential part of considering positive change.
Change takes you out of routine, habit and the familiar. At this crossroad, you have a Point of Choice. You can either stay in your current situation, relationship or pattern, or choose to experience something completely new. Leaping into new territory or redefining your life through the filter of needs, resources and benefits is essential for long-lasting benefits. This means making time and space to define where you are headed.
When we feel stuck, going nowhere–even starting to slip backward–we may actually be backing up to get a running start.
Based on the book, Changing for Good by James Prochaska, PhD,
there are aspects of the process that can be described as The Five Cycles of Change
. The feeling process that accompanies these cycles are similar to what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross researched in her description of the Grief Process including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Each aspect is unique to each person in sequence, duration and intensity.
The Five Cycles of Change
1. Pre-contemplation: This is the place where you are likely still in denial, and not yet aware that you want or need to change.
2. Contemplation: At this point, you may be starting to experience uneasiness about your current situation. You may experience a sense of feeling unsettled, angry, upset and resentful that you are where you are in this situation. You may be bargaining in this stage.
3. Preparation: As you work through your feelings, you reach a place of acceptance. This is the place where you look at the pro’s and con’s. This is the Point of Choice.
4. Action: You focus, make a decision and start taking some form of action.
5. Maintenance: You check your action and continue to take steps to actively choose what is life-energizing. You feel confident and thankful for your work, and see the value in your positive change.
6. Recycling: You check and move into an earlier stage to understand, question or update your thinking and planning.
You have a choice about how you wish to experience your process of change. Confusion and disorientation may seem like challenging aspects of moving into a new way of being, yet the anticipation of new growth and possibility as you move into a new way of experiencing life can also be exhilarating, joyous and freeing.
When you feel frustrated and overwhelmed with next steps, the idea of connecting to an anchor image of a time when you moved through a challenging situation in your past that was successful can help you feel grounded and hopeful with your next steps now.
How did you feel in that situation? Bring these feelings into your current situation. The power of this positive memory will energize your emotional brain. Your emotional brain only knows “now.” As you motivate your choices with positive emotion, you create the neural pathways and encouragement for the conscious mind to take action in the present.
Knowing that the cycles of life and change are part of living is wisdom. You can choose how you experience your life in any moment. Each breath, each thought, each new day brings new steps, opportunities for growth and new possibilities.
I have created an e-book that walks you through the process of setting intentions for the New Year with 4 easy steps that take a deeper look at the process.
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