Many of us are motivated by a desire to create positive change in the world. But looking outside of ourselves for change is not the answer. It can be so easy to think everything would be better if other people changed. To see something that could use improvement in someone elses life, and fixate on what we perceive as a necessary change that person needs to make.
But if you have ever actually tried to change someone, you have probably learned that it is impossible. We do not change for others, unless we are under great duress. We might try to please someone else by changing our behavior for a time. But if the true motivation for making a change does not come from within, it just will not stick.
Lasting change can only come from within. We must be so committed to transforming something that we are willing to grow through our inertia, let go of comfortable habits, and set new patterns. This can be challenging because the brain is designed to maintain habits. Once we develop an ingrained pattern, the brain wants to keep doing things the same way. We have to literally rewire the brain to form new connections when we want to change something about ourselves.
Luckily, it is possible to make small and large changes in our bodies, our habits, and our lives. We must have a strong desire to make the change, and the discipline to let go of the old and focus on the new.
To create a change, first focus on what you want. It can be helpful to identify what is not working for you now, but put more of your attention on the change you want to experience. Once you have a clear picture of that change, imagine the feelings associated with that change. How does it feel to have that desired result actually happening in your life?
Then when you know the intended change and have the feeling-state of that change in your body, think of the steps you will need to make that change. Then begin making those steps, one-by-one, as you continue to focus on the feelings associated with the desired outcome. Do everything you can to support yourself in making the transition, understanding that it will be a lot easier to avoid backsliding if you create favorable conditions for change.
This will look different for different people in varying situations. If you are breaking a food addiction, you will want to focus on what or how you choose to eat instead of the addictive food or eating behavior. You will also be served by clearing all trigger foods out of your house, and for at least a little while avoiding situations where you might be confronted with your addiction foods or behaviors. Then, instead of fixating on what you can no longer have, you would focus on what you are choosing to eat.
It is important to understand that change occurs over time. We may not be able to instantly break an old habit and make a new one. Very rarely is any kind of lasting change instant we must be willing to put in the time and effort.
The gift is that creating positive change in our lives strengthens us. When we realize one day that the shift towards which we have been working is finally embedded in us, the sense of accomplishment will boost our confidence and feelings of self-worth. One positive change often gives us the courage and motivation to make another. And little by little, we can transform our entire lives if we so choose.
While we cannot force change in other people, we can inspire it. When we are healthier and clearer, we have more to offer our friends and communities. We can participate in the world in more productive ways. Changing ourselves then leads to changing our world for the better, because we have more to contribute.
We can inspire others to change by sharing stories of the change we have made in our own lives, and how those changes have helped us become happier and healthier. We can share ideas, resources, tips, and guidance. But the greatest way we inspire others to grow is simply through our presence.
When we make positive shifts in our lives, the energy we send out into the field around us changes. Simply being in the presence of someone who has undergone a transformation can have a profound effect on everyone that person encounters.
We cannot force change in other people, no matter how much we might think others should change. But we can transform ourselves. All lasting change comes from within. And making this change in ourselves can inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. Changing ourselves can inspire change in the world.