Everyone in your life probably has an opinion about the changes you need to make.
They tell you it’s time for a better job. They tell you it’s time to dump your boyfriend. They tell you it’s time to get tough with your kids. They tell you it’s time for you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and to “get over it.” Most of the time, they are dispensing these opinions from a place of love and concern. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ve probably dished out the same kind of advice to those you love and care for.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you’re ready for a change.
- Am I ready? Yes, you may need to lose weight, quit that dead end job, leave a relationship or friendship that is no longer healthy or quit some other habit that isn’t serving you (like drinking, smoking or watching too much TV). But if you’re not ready, prepare for a massive wave of resistance and a few setbacks. The moment we stand up and declare our freedom is the exact moment that resistance suits up and prepares for battle. If you are in the midst of deep grief or depression, for instance, is that the right time to tackle those issues? Or would it be best to get help to move through your grief and depression first? What phase of change are you in? Pre-contemplation? Contemplation? Determination? Action? (Tip: Check out the transtheoretical model for behavioral change if you want to go deeper with behavioral change.)
- Am I willing? Knowing what needs to change and being WILLING to make change are not the same thing. It’s time to get really honest with yourself and ask yourself if you are WILLING to do what it will take to make the change stick. Are you willing to make the decisions you need to make to move forward? Are you willing to eliminate something completely or could you simply reduce and begin to taper down? Being clear about what you are willing to do and what you’re NOT willing to do will go a long way towards a more successful change effort.
- Am I able? Do you have the skills, the support, the resources and the motivation to make the change you seek? Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we’re capable of. Other times, we use excuses to keep us from moving forward (not enough time, money or energy are as true as you allow them to be). Getting really honest about what you are able to do at the time and managing your own expectations can be a big change from the way you usually approach things. Resist the urge to over-commit or to underestimate yourself!
Change Agent Challenge: Think about a change you want to make. Take 5 minutes and ask yourself the 3 questions. Then, make a commitment. Write down what you will do and when. Share it with someone you trust and someone who will be willing to hold you accountable.
Times of change require brutal honesty with yourself and others. You need to be ready, willing and able to ask yourself the questions that will provide you with the insights and plan of action that will set you up for success. Putting in the time and giving yourself and others permission to really assess their readiness for change is a great gift. Get ready to give it often!