Change takes time: Habits to make it go by faster
So you want to make a change. Get a new job, write a book, take a new class.
The decision doesn’t take long.
But actually realizing the change does.
Once I decided to make my big change from stuck at work to becoming a life coach, I wanted the transformation to occur ASAP. It took me quite a while to realize that in order to be transformed, you have to spend time undergoing transformation.
Unfortunately for the desperate, things don’t just change the next day you’ve decided to change them (and often not even for the next week, month or year! Although life can start to feel different pretty quickly).
Making a big change with your career, or even a small one (like starting a side hustle or pursuing a passion a little more seriously) is a process. You don’t just quit, start a website, or make a sale and then wham - changed! Reap the benefits!
No. You might first decide on the general direction you’re headed towards. Then you do research, you sign up for classes, you make an exit plan. You quit, you start a website, you attend networking events.
And all the while your mind is growing because you’re evolving. You’re stretching yourself, trying new things, stepping outside of your comfort zone. You get scared, you get confident, you get anxious, you get excited.
It’s important to understand this process and consciously accept it because change requires endurance and perseverance. Keeping your sights on the end goal alone won’t be enough to keep you going …
Unless you have the right mindset and habits in place.
One of the books I regularly recommend to clients is James’ Clear “Atomic Habits”. You don’t have to buy the book to get his main point (just read the first sample chapter), which is that habits and systems are what make change happen (not, in fact, goals).
So what new habits and systems do you need to change or implement to get where you want to go? To persevere in your pursuit of a new path? To enjoy the journey rather than impatiently awaiting the outcome?
If you’ve embarked on a change and you’re feeling overwhelmed by how long it’s taking, think about which habits you can invest in that will help it go by faster and easier.
Here are the ones that have been essential for me:
A consistent meditation practice
This doesn’t have to be daily, just consistent. And consistent doesn’t even mean regularly scheduled. For me, I do it the first time in the day I get a free moment to myself. This isn’t always the same day or time each week, but whenever I get a few moments to myself in the morning, the first thing I do is some easy meditation.
I’m no pro at this but I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve learned that writing out even the smallest of tasks for the month and then each week and then each day is very helpful not just in keeping me focused, but more importantly, in keeping me from getting discouraged.
When you take the decision out of “what should I work on today?” then insecurities don’t railroad you. You simply follow the list of tasks you set out for yourself, which hopefully was created when you were in a healthy, optimistic mindset, and feel accomplished and productive.
Track my cycle
This one is a bit atypical maybe but I’ve found it really helps. I’m always conscious of where I’m at in my menstrual cycle so that I can better understand my mood and ability to concentrate. Each week of your cycle affects you in a different way and will make certain tasks easier or harder. Sometimes I’m feeling stuck in my business because of where I’m at in my cycle and then I can adjust what I’m working on to work with my body rather than fighting it.
I do this one before bed. If I go to bed anxious about something, I will almost certainly dream about it, sleep with tension in my shoulders and jaw and wake up in the night obsessing. So I do a mental scan of anything I’m holding on to and set it down for the night. Then I can pick it back up in the morning if I want to, or if I’m lucky, the Universe will have helped me solve it in my sleep.
I don’t have a ‘gratitude practice’ but each time I get scared I remind myself of how much has already changed in my life because of the action I’ve taken. I almost regularly try to self-sabotage as I continue to work on my business but it never makes me wish I could go back to the way things were before.
I don’t work on my business 5 days a week. I’d be a lot farther ahead if I did but the main reason why I made this change was for better balance. I’d be a total hypocrite if in going for that goal, I sacrificed balance.
So I don’t pressure myself to work on my business in every spare moment. I dedicate some time to it, I stick to that time as much as possible, and otherwise, I do what feels good to keep me mentally and physically balanced.
I make time to work out 4 times a week. I keep two whole days for my family. I go to bed at a decent hour. I don’t sit at my computer for longer than what feels ok for my body. And I think this helps me be more productive with my time in each life area.
I have regular coaching calls with my peer coach Kyle. We take turns coaching each other every week, which helps when I get stuck in my own mind, need some clarity and/or accountability.
Regular coaching calls are like writing in your journal but with a journal that talks back. You get to dump out all the stuff clogging up your brain and get help rearranging it in a way that makes sense so you can get some clarity on how to move forward. Try it out on a free coaching call!
I used to be so impatient to get my new career going that I flitted from one activity to the next, frantic in my efforts to ‘make progress’. And because I didn’t think it was important and that it took away too much time from ‘business building’, I stopped reading and learning new things.
Now, that I can ride the wave of the process of change, I enjoy learning again. And I find it reassuring to know that while my habits and business systems are busy helping me make progress, I get to focus on learning and growing myself so I can help clients learn and grow too.
What habits and mindset shifts do you think are important for your own ability to undergo a transformation?
Are you looking to find a job you really love to transform your life and feel more fulfilled?
Vocational coaching can help! I help you find the job, project or path that fits you best and then help you ‘maek’ it happen.
Book a free coaching consultation to find out more.