We’re all trying to become better versions of ourselves. It could be becoming healthier, improving our relationships with others, learning a new skill, and so on. We struggle with this change for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because change is incredibly difficult.
In this post, I’m reflecting on what worked for me in the past in trying to change myself for the better and how it might work for you as well. I’m not saying this is the only way — what I’m saying is that this is what worked for me.
Let’s begin with my real-life example first, which takes place a few years ago. To make a long story short, I had increasingly gained weight. I had never exercised ever before, and eventually became frustrated with my clothes not fitting. The pain of this frustration became greater than having to deal with it, and the desire to change became greater than having to deal with the frustration of having the extra weight and tight clothes.
Something had to give. I decided at once that this had to change. I couldn’t deal with the weight gain anymore. And so, I did. I ended up losing a lot of weight in the shortest time possible. That “success” from having lost the weight spiraled into other areas of my life, not the least of which was high self-esteem and self confidence.
In hindsight, what worked for me was that I figured out why I wanted to lose weight first, and how I was going to get there. Then it was just a matter of setting up the goal for the weight loss, and setting up habits to make the change as easy and automatic as possible in the shortest time possible.
This weight loss wouldn’t have happened for me had I not become frustrated with the pain of carrying the extra weight. That frustration turned into motivation for reaching my goal. In other words, my desire to change (my Why) became greater than my pain of living with the problem. Once I figured out why I wanted to change, through self-realization, it just became a matter of doing it (the How).
Figuring out your Why (your desire to change) is half the battle won. The other half is showing up regularly and doing what’s required over and over till you get there. That’s how you close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
This is not to say that getting there would be easy, because it’s not. And that’s okay — that’s good, in fact. Because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. The difference now is you know where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. And that goes a long way towards making that positive change. The Why becomes your motivation to change and is best and sustainable when it comes from within yourself.
All of this to say that personal change is intrinsic — it comes from within. That personal change comes from self-realization, and eventually leads to self-transformation.
When our desire to change becomes greater than the burden of living with the pain/problem, that’s when personal change begins. That’s what worked for me anyway. No one can make you change, regardless of what they say or how good their intentions might be, and I think that’s the best thing going forward because only then can it become (and remain) sustainable.