Have you made a New Year’s resolution? If you have declared the change you wish to make this year, you should be aware that change does not occur with a declaration of intent, but rather by the thought process and actions which follow.
Making a lasting change begins with living in the moment. Awareness of the moment allows your core self to emerge with the acceptance of your physical and emotional reactions to your environment. Many people have learned to cope with stress by ignoring, denying or avoiding reality. Self destructive behaviors emerge as a coping mechanism which numbs which ever true feelings which surface. If you are courageous enough to acknowledge your true feelings, then you will find that the change you seek will occur in tandem with your self discovery.
Ten Steps toward Lasting Change
1) List all the changes you wish to make; if the change is realistic, it is possible.
2) With each change, write down as many reasons you can think of why this change is needed.
3) Write a short history of when your habit or situation started. If you want to stop drinking, when did you start? What was your emotional and social status at the time? Honesty is a must.
4) Write down all the reasons (excuses) you can think of what is keeping you from change. These are challenges that you will face if you are committed to change.
5) This is one of the most difficult parts of change---FEAR! The denial of pleasure requires learning new coping skills. Identify the void that was numbed by self destructive habits. Pain that you have avoided may lead to self pity, or an opportunity to grow; the choice is yours.
6) Research information regarding the change you want to make. Find a support group or online discussion for support.
7) Ask yourself if you are truly ready to change, if you are, NOW is the time.
8) Do not focus on the time you have remained free from your destructive behavior.
9) Keep busy. If you are overwhelmed by urges, take as many deep breaths as you need. Listen to guided meditation, or call a friend.
10) Be patient with your self, change is a process, not a “resolution” or “goal”. True progress can only be measured by the cessation of destructive behaviors and an increase in positive feelings.