Ready! Set! Go! What… not ready?
By Psychologist Paula Lorimer
As we round out to the end of January most of us are back in the full swing of things at work, leisure, and home. For many of us we’ve already abandoned our New Years Resolutions, felt bad, and moved on. You had a great idea for change, but struggle to implement or keep with it – why? Maybe you weren’t ready.
Ready, set, go! If you’re not ready, there is no set, no go, and no change. One of the biggest obstacles to change is readiness. Wanting a change and being ready for a change are very different animals. I have a colleague who is hard of hearing, but for years wouldn’t get hearing aids. On the outside someone else might say ‘get them, they will make your life easier’. This is true, so why not get them? My colleague wasn’t ready yet. He wasn’t ready to accept that he needed hearing aids. He wasn’t ready to have the conversation with other people. He wasn’t ready to see himself in them. He wasn’t ready to give up the freedom of non hearing aided ears.
Readiness is a state of preparation and willingness. If you’re not really ready or willing, change will likely not take place. You might avoid talking about it or drag your heals and delay getting started. I know a woman who once said ‘I only start new things on Mondays, so my diet starts next Monday’. And you can guess what happened the following Monday. She wasn’t ready yet.
Any change, positive or negative, necessitates a loss. You have to give up something during the process of change. And any loss means grief, an emotional sadness and adjustment to a new way. Consider smoking cigarettes, what does someone lose by quitting smoking? It can be a lot of things; losing break times, a sense of relaxation, smoking buddies and belonging to a tribe, a way of stress management and even a reward. Even though you know it’s bad for you, you have to lose all the aspects of smoking to gain the benefits of not smoking.
We can be hard on ourselves because we ‘know better’, but don’t do better as well as not recognize the grief that becomes part of our lives as we implement change. Here are some things to help get you ready for a change you are considering in your life:
Ready: Don’t wait to be 100% ready – We are rarely 100% ready for change. Be okay with mostly ready and prepare yourself anyways.
Set: Focus on the benefits of change, not what you are losing – write out all the reasons you want to change and what positive things you will have. If you focus on the ‘what I lose list’ you won’t do it. Focus on the positives.
Go: Grieve the losses – say goodbye to what you are losing by implementing positive changes. Recognize feelings of sadness, missing, and perhaps discomfort and move forward. You’re ready and set, now take the plunge.
In the end my colleague did get hearing aids when he was ready and he was happy with his decision. The woman I know eventually started her diet when she was ready and willing. She was able to stick to it and is now in better health. Both created long lasting change, but only once they were ready enough. Are you ready?
Check out our downloadable SMART Goals Checkpoint Worksheet to track your progress and reassess your strategies for success.
We guarantee you will attain the results you are longing for by sticking to your plan, evaluating your progress on a regular basis, and holding yourself accountable for successes and setbacks. If you are truly ready, our effective worksheets and tools will ensure you are successful. Check our our previous blog for worksheet #1 if you missed it. January is coming to a close, and our themed blogs will move on and away from implementing those New Year’s goals and resolutions of yours, which is why it is up to you to stick to your implementation plans and take responsibility for your success. We know you can do it!
To a happy, healthy, and successful New Year!