When you are stuck, frustrated, and want to change, most people turn to the “how”. As in “How do I get motivated?” or “How do I stop feeling so anxious?” The how is VERY important, however most people don’t realize there are actually 4 stages to change. And ‘the how’ is stage 4.
Here they are:
Stage 1: Wanting It
This is the most basic state of change. You’ve got to want the change you are seeking. In other words: It is impossible to create change in yourself (or someone else like your child) unless there is a genuine desire. If you don’t want it… then why would you change?
And if you are trying to change someone else, especially if they don’t want the change you are thrusting upon them… then good luck. You might as well just try to break a brick wall with a toothpick. It’s not going to happen.
Stage 2: Willingness
This is where a lot of people get stuck. They WANT the thing, but they aren’t willing to do what it takes to get the thing. (Such as “I WANT to eat healthy, but when someone gives me a salad, I’m unwilling to eat it.”)
The great thing is, there is a LOT you can do to increase willingness (as long as the desire is there). You can get a coach to help you in a specific area of your life (like a job coach, nutrition coach, life coach, parenting coach, etc.). You can strengthen your ‘why’ by getting VERY clear on what it is that you want and emotionally charging that desire.
The ultimate goal is to build more discipline (which literally means “to be in service of”) so that you gain the willingness required to do the thing.
Stage 3: Emotional Capacity
So now you want it, and you are willing to do what it takes to get it. Now we get to the other part where most people get stuck. In order to get from point A to point B, you will need to feel uncomfortable.
Let me explain: Comfort is not a warm fluffy pillow. It’s simply what you know and what you can expect. That’s why a lot of people can be comfortable being sick & exhausted. It’s what they know.
By definition then, discomfort is what you don’t know. The unfamiliar. The new territory. However, if you are wanting change, you are wanting something new. So you’ll be uncomfortable. And if you don’t have the emotional capacity to handle that discomfort, you’ll decide to back off for one reason or another.
As with stage 2, the good news is that there is a lot you can do to increase your emotional capacity.
The best thing is simply what we call “Being With It”. Sitting with your sensations to get used to them. Not trying to control, manipulate or force anything. Just letting it be as it is and getting used to it. Exactly like getting into a pool and feeling cold for the first 30 seconds. Eventually you get used to it.
Stage 4: The How
This is actually the easiest stage. Now that you have the desire, willingness and emotional capacity, now it’s time to execute. In today’s world of information, finding an appropriate “recipe” to follow isn’t actually that hard. Usually it just takes some understanding of how life works and a little googling.
The trick is knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned (and knowing that at some point, things will not go as planned). This is where the skills of Troubleshooting and Course Correction come into play. Implement those, and then soon that change you’ve wanted will finally show up in your life.