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How do you know when you are ready for change?

changeIn my practice clients come to me because they want to change, but the thing that I do observe is that some change and some do not. Some people get frustrated with the process and stop coming. Others power ahead, get breakthroughs and change their life.

So the real question is what makes it work for one, but not the other?

1. Both have a desire to change

2. Both say they really want change to happen

3. Both say that they are prepared to do what it takes to change.

But the difference between them lies in

1. The reason why they are looking for change in their life

2. Whether they are looking for someone to agree with them or to tell them the truth. I say the truth because their present approach is not working and needs to be changed. Are they open to accepting that they need to change or do they want to cling on to old ways of doing things?

What is the reason that someone is looking for change? Is it based on doing it for other people or doing it for themselves? You can always tell when someone is doing it for someone else. They tend to use the word “should” as in “I should change whatever it is they want to change for so-and-so”. Sometimes is a bit of a mix between doing it for someone else but on some level wanting to do it for yourself. The trouble is that doing it for someone else will mean that you will not have the motivation to go the distance. As soon as things get tough you will start to get the feeling that you really did not want to do it resulting in giving up.

The alternative is doing it because you choose to do it. You are doing it for yourself. If other people benefit in the process of change, then that is an added bonus. The main purpose for change should be for your benefit. Take an example of an overweight person who goes to their doctor. The report is bad. High blood pressure and other significant issues mean lose weight or you are going to die early. They have no real motivation because they are ok the way they are. Their partner may nag them, the doctor may nag them and their kids may nag them and as a result, they may be guilted into dieting. I can tell you that the diet will not last because internal motivation does not exist.

Take another overweight person who goes to the doctor and get the same diagnosis. They start thinking, well I really do not want to die early. I want to be around for my grandkids and I want to enjoy retirement. As a result they decide for their own benefit that they will go on a diet. They have a far greater chance of success because the motivation is internal.

There are some people that are in the situation where they are because they ignore the truth. They really do not want to be told the truth. They would like you to help them change as long as you do within the confines of telling them what they want to hear. You may read this and think that is pretty absurd, but trust me, I see it over and over again. As soon as you start to touch on the truth they are gone. They do not want to know the truth if it conflicts with what they believe about themselves and they dig in and resist change. The curious thing is that what they believe is the very thing which has put them in the situation. Refusing to look at alternatives will not serve them in any way.

How do you know when you are ready for change? Can you answer yes to the following two questions?

1. Am I doing this primarily for my benefit?

2. Am I ready to face the truth?


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