5 Steps to Make Change Stick
*Updated Feb 28, 2018
Do you ever feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle when you try to make a change in your life? I definitely do. So often it feels like one step forward, two (or ten) steps back.
To help you (and me) gain some traction, here are five important things to remember:
- Clear space to welcome in the new.
Before charging ahead with going after your goal, stop and evaluate if you have the space available in your life to welcome it in. Is there anything standing in your way or occupying that part of your life already?
If you’re bogged down with clutter (and when considering this, remember to consider all types of clutter — physical, spiritual, and emotional), there’s no room for your dreams to manifest.
Let’s say you’re running a business and you’re looking to increase your profits. When was the last time you cleaned out your filing cabinet?
Looking for love? How often are you stalking your ex on social media?
If you don’t create the space for change, it’s not going to take it upon itself to squeeze its way into your life.
If the idea of adding another client folder to your filing cabinet is aggravating because your hands get cut up trying to shove new ones in there, you’re energetically keeping business away.
If you’re stalking your ex, sleeping under the same blankets you did as a couple, or being a sounding board about his or her new relationship, they’re taking up your relationship seat and no new love wants to sit on their lap!
Instead of pursuing new business leads, schedule a time in your calendar to clean out old files. Doing so is a strategic marketing move often more effective than any sales pitch.
Or arrange a pick-up from a charitable organization to give you a deadline to purge clothes, household items, books, CDs, DVDs, etc. I did this recently with the Epilepsy Foundation. It took me less than five minutes to initiate a pick-up using their website scheduling tool.
To clear the relationship area of your life, take 15 minutes to conduct a silent visualization and cord cutting ritual to finally say “sayonara” to your ex and his or her energy. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Find a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
- Get comfortable, and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Feel your feet on the floor, your butt on the chair. Feel your shoulders relax with each exhale.
- Repeat until you feel as centered as possible.
- With your eyes closed, picture a cord running between yourself and your ex (or your father, your friend, your old boss, whomever it may be sitting in that seat). If you’re having trouble seeing it, take a few more breaths.
- Describe to yourself what the cord looks like. How long is it? How thick? What color is it? Is it dangly and loose, or stiff and taut? What is the consistency like?
- Once you have a good, clear image in your head, now is when you want to cut the cord. You may choose to imagine the hand of God coming down and cutting it. Some like to call upon Archangel Michael to come with his sword of light to sever the connection. Choose a symbol that works for you.
- Once the cut is made, visualize the cords being sent up into a beam of light to transition into love and peace.
Now that you’ve created the space to welcome in the new, it’s time for some action.
- Stupid Small Steps
We all know that trying to go from no exercise to resolving to workout five days a week is a recipe for disaster, but what people often forget is that any small action toward change stirs up the energy and shows the universe that you’re serious this time.
As you think about the shifts you want to make, brainstorm the small steps you can start with. For example, if you want to improve your financial health, start by setting up a system to make bill paying easy.
If that feels too big, start by getting in the habit of sorting your mail as soon as you bring it in the house: recycling what can be discarded and organizing what needs your attention. Either of these steps puts positive energy toward your goal of abundance.
If the action step you’ve come up with feels overwhelming or you find yourself avoiding it, it’s likely an indication that it’s simply still too big. Break it down even further. Sometimes you’ll need to break down the steps to what seems like a ridiculously small move — I call these “stupid small steps.” It’s all good. Any action is good action.
And what’s really cool is that these very small steps have a snowball effect. The more little moves you make, the faster the energy builds and the sooner you get into the flow. The more often you show up to your side of the universal dance, the sooner she steps back, and before you know it, you’ll be tangoing your way to success!
- See your resistance for what it is.
When you find yourself coming up with all sorts of convincing reasons why you can have “just one cookie,” that you don’t have time to start your meditation practice today, or that you’ll set aside time tomorrow to look at your bills, remember that your fear’s main goal is to keep you right where you are — even if the change you want to make is for the better. If it is something different, it’s an automatic ‘No’ for your fear.
Instead of battling against this procrastination or resistance, see it for what it is — a scared child. This young part of you simply needs reassurance that you’re not running away and abandoning it as you move toward change. He or she needs to know that you have every intention of taking him or her along with you to a healthier, happier life, and that you’ll safely lead the way.
By partnering with your resistance, you can come together to form an incredibly powerful team.
- Seek the right support.
A key to success in making any kind of change is support. Find a safe, encouraging, and healthy person to support you, cheer you on, hold you accountable, and offer fresh insights.
Be very selective when choosing this person or these people. Some people in your life may not like the idea of you making a change as it becomes a mirror for them and highlights what they’re not doing. You want someone who is in it for your highest good and can act as your mold when you’re feeling a bit shaky. This person may be a friend, family member, therapist, coach, or sponsor.
Just remember — choose wisely.
- Revisit and revise.
You may find that the goals you set previously aren’t quite the right fit anymore. This is actually great progress as this realization alone speaks to forward movement in becoming more and more connected to who you are at a soul level.
Maybe you’ve come to see that the vision you had was one you thought you “should” have instead of one that really matters to you. Great — revise your intentions and dreams and start from where you’re at.
Just like seeing your resistance for what it is, this is an opportunity to practice loving kindness toward yourself and acknowledge the clarity that allowed you to realize a goal is no longer for you.
While taking all of this into consideration, remember to be gentle on yourself. No healthy and permanent change ever comes from a self-punitive place. The more you can be kind and compassionate toward yourself, the more easily change will happen.
Finally, when you feel stuck in the mud, use this mantra question: “What if this was easy? What would it look like?” and then answer it. This can often prompt creative thinking that your frustration would otherwise block.
Now I want to hear from you:
- Where do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere?
- What do you believe is tripping you up?
- What would it look like if it were easy?
Let’s chat in the comments below.
Thank you, Kerri! What a wonderful, gentle reminder for all of us in the process of a transition. I am currently transitioning my business to finally follow my true heart’s desire. Over the past year, I have gained an incredible amount of clarity (much of which was brought about through difficult times). But what a wonderful gift — to actually know what you want your business and life to look like!
On January 23, I will celebrate my 2nd year anniversary as a small business owner and I will launch my new website! I have already started to clear so much space — physical space and emotional space. Tapping into those fears is hard work, but the results are so clear! With each baby step I take, I feel a bit more free. A bit more at home with myself and my decisions.
I am learning (slowly) how to take baby steps — instead of trying to simply leap over the process. That’s been a difficult learning experience. And I’ve been a less-than-stellar student, but I have learned the value of process and how to honor that process.
I’m still learning to partner with my resistance. I suspect it will be something that I will be practicing for the rest of my life. But I no longer ignore it. And yes, having support for these changes — well, that has made all the difference!
I have complete faith that 2012 will be an incredible year — and I’m taking the steps I need to take to make it so! This is the year that my business and my life come into alignment and support one another. And this step-by-step approach is something that I have already printed out and plan to use on a regular basis to take stock of where I am and how the year is progressing. Thank you, Kerri!
Thanks for your comment, Erica! Congrats on your exciting, new transition and forthcoming updated website! It’s so easy to be gentle on ourselves as we are initiating change, so it’s important to remember that the more we ignore the fearful part of us and try to shove it aside, the louder it needs to be to get our attention. It just needs some lovin’! Toss your arm around her (figuratively, of course. If you literally put your arm around an invisible someone next to you, sticking to a resolution would be the least of your worries!) and let her know she’s an important part of the plan. You need her to remind you to play! Best of luck to you and can’t wait to see you continue to take over the world!
WOW. What a powerful statement for bringing in prosperity for the new year. Im admiring your plan and intentions. Ive been seek clarity myself in the vision of how I WANT my business to look. I find I have numerous looks I like but have realized that they all lead me to helping others find their calling. My fear or set back is : feeling I need a partner(supporter) to help me achieve the BIG ideas. Any recommendations Erica or Kerri?
Lots of new business owners think they have to know it all, and when they come across aspects they don’t know a lot about it, they see it as a sign to not move forward. You’re on the right track with the idea of getting some support. While it may or may not be in the form of a partner, taking things one baby step at a time will help you more clearly identify what you need help with. Check in and be sure you’re intention behind looking for a “partner” is in hopes of someone coming in to rescue you or do it for you. Your big idea needs YOU. Break down the path to that big idea one action step at a time. And remember, if you’re avoiding the action step you’ve laid out, it’s probably just too big. Go for it!
Very good tips!
Doing the right thing long enough consistently is the key to success and it is worth every pain to do so. The results are amazing. Love yourself because life will become easier, more fun and joyful and everything will start working for your!
Have a wonderful year everybody.
Happy New Year, Marie! Thanks for contributing to the conversation! Yes, consistency is key, for sure — consistently loving yourself even when you slip up, or aren’t consistent with your planned actions. We must take care of every part of ourselves — the ambitious side, the scared side and the excited side!
Thank goodness I read this today – i needed a reminder of each point! I realise now I’ve been working on my emotional and spiritual clearing, but my physical environment is not condusive with the “new” that I know I want in my life. Time for a clearout! And as I havent done any proper exercise for a long time, I think I’ll take baby steps towards my new Zumba DVD 3 times a week rather than everyday (which was my original plan that’s already failing!). “Your ego’s main goal is to keep you exactly where you are” is enlightening for me, as is the idea to be kind to it rather than fight it. I’ve always thought of my resistance as something to do battle with, approaching it with kindness and compassion is a much nicer way of being. Thank you for sharing, and Happy New Year x
I love to hear that you’ll try being more gentle with the part of you that is resisting. Take some time to consider what fears could be going on behind the scenes when it comes to the changes you want to make. For example, if you exercised regularly and started to feel really good about yourself, is there a fear of being too “out there” and noticeable? Is it safer to fade into the background? It’s these fears that make up our resistance and why we need to love it up. Good luck!
I have a goal of being a spiritual healer , healing myself, my family and others. This message is exactly what I need to hear to take a baby step ahead. I have to clear physical and spiritual and mental space. Those thinga are slowly coming into place using small steps and goals. I need to clear more time away from the computer, but I am learning so much from it. If I had cleared space tonight I would have gone to bed earlier and not read this post. By the time I got to fb it may have disappeared under the weight of other useful posts. Then I would not have read the wonderful advice it gives. So ‘making time’ is easier said than done.
Thanks for reading my post. I can really appreciate the difficulty in taking time away from the computer. There are SO many great resources on here. Just be careful to not get so caught up in them that you lose yourself in the process. Trust that the information you need will be available to you whenever you reach for it. The Universe is always conspiring in your favor. Trust it enough to be there for you and it will be. Show it that you can be there for yourself, too, and it will really come out in force for your best and highest good!
Try scheduling appointments in your calendar to focus on things you’d like to spend time on that don’t involve the computer. Consider these appointments as important as any others and do your best to not skip them. By scheduling this time, you’ll feel less guilty when you do spend time on the computer, knowing that you are tending to all aspects.
I wish you the best!
I enjoyed your 5 steps for the New Year and other posts here. Kerri I know the EGO is so powerful and I constantly fight with it each day I awake. Sometimes my spirit is here and present and other times I have raised the white flag. It is like I climb a hill and then stumble over a pebble and fall half way down again. I am not giving up and still want to work with you. My only concern is I need to get my soul in a better state. If we talk and you ask about any of my demons , I will get emotional and give into tears. This won’t help either one of us! More then anything I want to be at peace with my soul and have those I love ..love me back without me questioning if they are sincere!
Much Love xo
Thanks for reading and writing, Roberta! Try to not fight with your ego and instead embrace and love it. As I wrote above, imagine that your ego is a frightened little girl who is so scared of change. She’s going to resist it at all costs, even if the change is truly for the better. Reassure her and let her know you’re there for her and that you love her. Fighting against her only forces her to become louder and more bratty. 😉
Thanks Kerri. I haven’t been on my computer for a couple of days and was going to skip it tonight but glad I didn’t. Your column was so enlightening, there are a few things I have to change for 2012.
You are perfect just the way you are! 🙂 OK, well, I guess even you could be better at your self care.