Some times it seems as though things will never change. When you feel that way, how can you get unstuck and make change happen?
There are several reasons why you might feel that change is difficult, if not impossible.
For one example, you might feel like you have no good options. Rather than opting to make a bad choice, you may prefer to keep the status quo.
Alternately, you might feel like the situation is too big or too complex for any change you might make to have any significant impact. There are plenty of other alternatives as well.
Whatever the reason, is you feel you cannot or will not make a change, what can you do? Change, of course, is inevitable. But how can you make sure that the change that happens is most beneficial to you?
How can you change your circumstances, or at least your attitude? In your experience in your own life, what makes change possible?
Related questions: Change of status quo? How can you change your attitude? Can people change? How have you changed? How have we changed?
6 thoughts on “What Makes Change Possible?”
This question seems geared more toward individual change rather than systemic change. I’ll stick to the intent.
Most change sticks through consistent, sustained action — the work of actively building or reinforcing good habits. I’ve read that forming a habit can take anywhere between three weeks to a bit more than two months. So, it’s best if the motivation for change is backed by a strong desire.
Now, how do you build or reinforce good habits? First, ritualize it. Second, track it; record your progress somewhere. Third, build in positive rewards now and then. And fourth, if you falter, get back on board as soon as possible.
I suppose what makes change possible — at least, positive change — is a willingness to change.
I think that’s true of an individual or a society. If you are not actually ready to adopt new habits, policies, or procedures, it won’t mean much in terms of real life outcomes.
As the saying goes: the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I offer a corollary: the first step toward changing is a willingness to change.
In my never to be humble opinion what makes change possible is speaking truth to power. That starts with speaking truth to each other and then it’s not such a big jump to tell those higher up the food chain what people with their boots on the ground are experiencing. For example I would like to be receiving more of these mailings but as many boxes as I check I only seem to be receiving one a week if that ~ rather than all the comments. But there is a generation who don’t hack computing and I am in it.
Hope is the most important element, followed by will. You have to be able to see the possibility of change, which motivates me to gather the will (the energy, really) to take the steps.
Change is a process that is anything but a straight line. Typically, ambivalence (both wanting to do things differently and not wanting to do things differently) must be resolved and then resolved again… and again. One important factor in resolving ambivalence and deciding to embark on the action of change is a sense of self-efficacy, a belief that “I am capable of making this change in my life.” When a change feels overwhelming or an obstacle insurmountable, people do not move forward with change. Some ways of increasing your sense of self-efficacy are by remembering other times you have accomplished something difficult or by breaking it down into doable steps.
Once a person has resolved their ambivalence regarding the change, preparation must be done before the “action” of change occurs. People need to learn HOW to change and have the resources to affect the change in their life before visible change can occur. These resources might be knowledge, social support, or logistical resources/support.
The action of change is what most of us associate with the word “change” but a lot of change has happened before that action takes place. And throughout all of this, ambivalence continues to question the changer, “Is this worth it? Will it work? Will things actually be better?”
The question of “What makes change possible?” is too vast to answer simply. But for me, I focus on my intention. What do I value? Who do I want to be? How do I demonstrate my values? The Shakespearean quote that guides me is: “The past is prologue. What to come in yours and my discharge.” I cannot change my past, but I get to choose where to go from here.
I can change habits by repeating an action many times until my automatic brain takes over.