“Significant change requires clarity of thinking, a realistic inventory of your personal choices, and the ability to engage in purposeful choices and actions.” – William Keiper, award-winning author of “Life Expectancy: It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Game”
Work is a four-letter word. So is love. When the goal is significant change, the key is to marry the two so that desired results occur. Somehow, though, most of us have a bit of a problem with the work part of the equation. We know we want the change. That much is indisputable. We may not be all that willing to go the distance with all the effort that may be required. The question is, how do we get there?
Let’s take a particular goal that many have: Succeeding at a worthwhile project, gaining recognition, advancing in a career. They’re all a little different but they’re also the same. It doesn’t matter if the goal is large or small, complex or simple in nature. What does matter is how best to achieve the end result. Here’s where we can all use a little help. Some of these steps may be useful.
- Simplify and clarify what the goal is. To say we want change is too big of a concept. It needs to be slimmed down, focused on a particular goal, and clarified to the point that it can be described in a single sentence. What this does is eliminate a lot of dust and debris that clouds thinking and distracts attention from the task/project at hand. So, the very first step is to get as clear as possible about what the goal for change is.
- Figure out the choices. With any goal, there are multiple routes or paths to take to achieve the end result. Some are short-cuts, although those rarely work. Others are long and involved, and those can lead to frustration and impatience, possibly even abandonment of the effort. The second step, then, is to determine the possible choices available. This is the research-gathering phase of any desire to change.
- Be realistic about strengths and capabilities. While climbing Mt. Everest may be a pie-in-the-sky dream, it’s not much of a realistic goal for most people. For one thing, it involves considerable training and skill. For another, it requires a high threshold of physical stamina. It’s also out of reach for the majority of the population for other reasons, such as economic, geographic, time constraints, and a few more. When contemplating change, take a hard look at strengths and current capabilities. You may be excellent at prep but lacking in follow-through. Both are necessary to be successful in achieving change. What this means is that you may be able to easily navigate certain parts of the goal but need more time and/or additional resources for other areas. Take all this into consideration when setting goals and making plans for change.
- Accept that change takes time. Nothing’s going to happen overnight, no matter how much change we want. We could, of course, rush into a particular goal with the intent to succeed no matter what. The result we’re likely to achieve with this short-sighted effort is far from ideal, however. It’s much better to be fully aware of and accept the fact that change, especially significant change, is going to require time. How much time will vary, depending on the goal and numerous other factors. Allowing time enough to succeed will reduce the self-imposed stress that otherwise would accompany trying to achieve change.
- Select the choices that make the most sense. After taking the previous steps, it’s time to hone in on the choices that hold the most promise of success. If you’ve never attempted a huge project or self-improvement process before, it’s best to take small steps first. Build on what you learn and add to your skills. This increases self-confidence and demonstrates that you can succeed in what you set out to do. One success builds upon the other.
As for work and love becoming partners, while it may still take a while for this to be second-nature, it is possible to look forward to making changes, creating goals and action plans to achieve them, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment in their ultimate achievement.