The First Step To Change
I would forgive you for reading a few personal development blog posts and coming away from the experience more troubled than relieved. After all,
*Why don’t you own a business?
*Isn’t it about time you traveled the world?
Those things will happen, of course — right after you sign up for the email list.
Phew. Thank God all I have to do to solve my problems is click a button. In a perfect world, right?
Actually, it’s not so far off
The most frustrating aspect of the you-don’t-just-click-a-button-to-solve-your-problems world is…the truth isn’t that different. Small changes in personal behavior do lead to big changes.
You hear it all the time because it’s true: the most challenging barriers to personal change are self-created. Humans have a fantastic capacity for internally-generated excuses inventing and assigning external blame. These excuses protect us from our fear of failure…by protecting us from failure…by protecting us from even trying in the first place.
It’s not even a “matter-of-fact-hey-this-can-happen” issue. Big changes cannot happen without small changes. The entire published works of Tolstoy could never exist without a rough draft first page, handwritten somewhere back in 19th-century-Russia.
Prove it to yourself
There wouldn’t happen to be any goals in your life that you’ve been meaning to do for a long time despite no recorded progress…would there? Big goals — like learning another language, or starting that business, or traveling the world or any of the other lofty aspirations we’d prefer to think impossible.
Well (if you do happen to have anything like that going on) here’s what you can do “rightnow” to make a start. Commit to one small personal change, do it everyday for one week, and write it down. No ideas? Here are some good ones:
*Put your pants on left leg first
*Blink 3 times every time you walk into an elevator
*Take a 5-minute walk around the office every day at 3:17
Why??? At the end of one week, you will have undeniable formal proof of your personal capacity to change. Then you can think about more obviously-beneficial changes.
*Writing for 5 minutes a day gets you 15,000 words in a year; conservatively
*30 minutes a day practicing guitar & voice gets you 80 hours of practice in under 6 months, or enough practice to go from zero ability to competently singing along
*Studying a language 30 minutes a day for a month is more than enough time to learn the Russian alphabet
*That thing you’ve been meaning to start for a few years now
Of course, if you are struggling with personal change and would rather not take action, you still maintain the option of making excuses for yourself and rationalizing how impossible it would have been anyway.
Which choice do you prefer?