Choosing Yourself: A No Nonsense Guide to Change

No Nonsense Guide to Change

5 No-Nonsense Ways to Choose Yourself and Change Your Life


Every day you have 24 hours.

Most of those hours are probably directed towards things that matter to you: Work, family, nutrition, exercise and Television. For some of us, TV may come first and if that is you, your priorities are probably out of line. I know that because if you are reading this article about change and you fill your day with TV, things are probably not working out so well.

Why are you reading an article about change?

If you are reading this post, you are at least thinking about making a change. Consider this question: Each day, how much time or energy do you invest in changing yourself?

Be honest. For most of us, it’s not as much time or effort as we would like. Change can be difficult.

Every minute of the day, your body is working to change itself.  Cells are rebuilding and replacing your other old and retiring cells. This process is outside of your awareness and control. Whether you like it or not, your body is built for change.

Unconscious change takes a significant amount of your bodies energy and brain power. In the same way, conscious change is takes effort and attention.

What are the most effective ways that people change?

Sorry, but that is the wrong question.

You are unique. You and your neighbor may share the streets and power tools, but what you don’t share is the most important thing. You and your neighbor have different needs, a different history and unique goals.

If you really want to change, a list of effective strategies are pretty much useless. At best they are ideas, but what is important is to begin where YOU are at, not what a list might tell you.

Change begins with awareness. The more unconscious you are, the more you remain the same. Becoming conscious will change you.

5 No-Nonsense Ways to Choose Yourself and Change Your Life

1.What do you want? Or put another way, do you really want to change?

This is a tough one. Sometimes you don’t really want to change. If that’s you, I recommend that you stop reading, don’t change and please don’t worry about it. The last thing I want to do is try and convince you to change.

In reality, change is not going to solve your problems, make you more confident, take away your stress or make you richer. What change will do is give you a higher vantage point to view your life.

Knowing what you want to change and why you want to change is one of the most important steps. If you can’t answer that question, don’t do anything else.

If you try to change and you really don’t want to, you may experience change fatigue. That is what happens around January 31 when people realize they really don’t want to keep exercising. It’s sweaty and gross and hard work. So they stop. If you repeat this every year, you eventually conclude that you can’t change. That is change fatigue. 

In reality, each change effort is an experiment, or a trial change. You can learn from every failure if at the heart, you want the change.

Most times we like the idea of change because we want the results but not the responsibilities.

Most times we like the idea of change because we want the results but not the responsibilities. To put it more plainly, we want to lose weight and get in shape so we go to the gym. But losing weight is more about committing to a lifestyle that will likely include diet, exercise, new thinking patterns, being more meal-planning conscious and 55 other things that we might need to do to establish a new life for ourselves.

Change is a lifestyle thing. Your life and your style need to be ready. And if you don’t want it, don’t do it.

2.Be vulnerable, because vulnerability will change you.

It takes guts to talk about the tough stuff, vulnerability is “quiet heroism” (see Ann Lamott, p. 206, Bird by Bird). Being honest with yourself and with at least one other person will change you because you own your ideas, feelings and needs. You, not Google, are the source of your best ideas, inspiration and motivation. 

3.Be open.

As soon as you know what you want and you are willing to put it out there the path to change may come at you unexpectedly. I know that sounds like what you would read in a fortune cookie: “Unexpected change awaits you.”

True, but if you have no idea what change you want, you might think the fortune was asking you to try on a different pair of underwear.

If you know what you want and why you want it, openness is not a weird New Age thing. It makes sense. You can’t control how your life will unfold. Being open is simply an attitude of belief.

Dr. Phil is wrong. The best predictor of future behavior is not past behavior, it is our beliefs.

You are capable of far more than you imagine. Sorry, but Dr. Phil is wrong. The best predictor of future behavior is not past behavior, it is our beliefs. Being open, saying “I can do this,” and “I am able” is all that we need when we follow it up with action.

Neuroscience tells us that change happens when we take an action. Being vulnerable, learning, being creative and fixing a problem are each examples of taking action. The brain changes in a use-dependent fashion. When you do something, that experience begins to change you.

Change does not need to be complicated. Change does not happen when we change our whole life, we just need to strive to be a little better than yesterday. Make each day a change experiment and change one small thing. And then don’t give up. This is what I call being a Small Change Ninja.

4.Change for yourself. The reward of change is change

There is no great reward to being a better person, a better parent or a better leader. The change is the reward. This is why you need to know what you want to change and why you want to change it.

  • If you want to write, write. You may not sell a lot of books or make a lot of money. But you can write and receive huge rewards.
  • If you want to lead, lead. You may not lead a multi million dollar business but leading will reward you with character, wisdom and life experience.
  • If you want to be a better parent, don’t read more books. Be present and love your kids. Provide quality time and attune yourself to what you kids need.

Change is your present to yourself.

5.Get a little bit of education.

There is a learning sweet spot. You will feel it when you learn and then take action on what you have learned. That’s it.

Being overstuffed, filled with everything that Google can give you will drive you to inaction. Do some research then take action.

Doing more research is usually not an action item. Research can actually  be a delay tactic. Maybe it’s a sign that you are not ready for change. Go back to #1.

  • Getting ten sources for a 1000 word article is doing too much research. Just get your journal, write your own thoughts down and then get your fingers typing. Ideas flow when you let your fingers go.
  • Choosing the absolute perfect business idea for you may never happen. Business is messy. Most businesses fail, just like recovery from addiction. The goal is not perfection or being mistake free. Get in there, strive to improve, work hard and learn as you go. Business, just like recovery, will succeed if you do not give up.
  • Reading every book on parenting will make you smart and guilt-ridden. Just parent. Love your kids. Yes, you will make mistakes and most of them will leave you with great memories, not scars. Things that are important are a struggle.

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Keep it Real

I am an author at The Good Men Project and The Real Edition. You can follow my writing by signing up for this blog or on Facebook. If you like what I have to say, please share it.

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Photo by Nana B Agyei

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