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How to Embrace Voluntary Change and Make it Work for You

 In what seems like a never-ending journey in a search for our true inner happiness, we all will come to a section where you will realize to get where you want to go something, or someone will have to change. What do you do when you are the something or someone in need of change? Change in general is hard but voluntary change can be less painful than involuntary change. Change because of circumstances that are forced upon you. Anything forced can break something. What is the meaning of change? As a noun it’s the act or instance of making or becoming different. The action of change is to make a difference, to alter or to modify, to replace something with something else, to transform, to switch, to revise, to redo, to rework, to revamp, to remodel. Re as in R and E as a prefix means again, anew, backward. Here's a question, what's better to take one step forward and two steps back, two steps forward and one step back, or one step back to take two steps forward?

  Change, for the most part, can be scary. Fear of the unknown. The devil I know is better than the devil I don't know right? What I know is familiar to me. Familiarity breeds comfort. We all like to be comfortable right? You can also find comfort in a bad situation because it's the devil you're used to or the devil you train yourself to tolerate. What is the meaning of tolerate? To allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with without interference. To accept or endure something unpleasant or dislike with forbearance. Why would you accept that pain but not be willing to go through the uncomfortable journey of change which can be just as painful but with a better payoff at the end for you?

  Do we give people enough space to change? I know your first thought is yes! Let me use something as simple as music, your favorite singer, band, rapper, insert your genre music here, after giving you years of a certain sound decide to release a different sound. The fans will be in an uproar. How dare they. What is this shit? We want the old sound back. Some of you may be too young to remember this but who remembers when they came out with new Coke? How quick did the public beat Coca-Cola down to bring the old formula back. Do you think that's any different than you making a lifestyle change and the people around you in your circle trying to hold you to the old version that you're trying to walk away from? Unfortunately, the people closest to us do not give us the space to change. You may be forced to put space between you and anyone or anything that does not allow you to change.

  How does one go about change? First, you need patience, discipline, and self-control just to get started. I grabbed a couple of lists to share with you that may jump start you guys on your way.

1) Stop making. Excuses are easy and excuses everyone got one just like buttholes.2) Set goals

3) Create a routine

4) Hold yourself accountable

5) Track your progress. Keep in mind failure is an integral part of success!

6) Exercise. Exercise helps with your thinking, learning and judgment.

I don't want to judge. Some of you better start judging, just saying.

  The next list I have may overlap or may sound the same but let's run through them.

1)    You can see yourself from the outside. I call this becoming the observer.

2)    Cultivate self love.

3)    Train your brain to be more optimistic.

4)    Set achievable goals. You never ran or jogged in 30 years, but you talk about wanting to run the marathon. Come on now, just get around a block first.

5)    Bolster your self-esteem.

6)    Focus on what's working.

7)    Journal your goals and progress.

8)    Take ownership.

9)     Be open to learning. What can you tell someone who knows it all? Nothing.

10)  Use motivational and helpful social media apps. Find things on YouTube that are inspirational. Things that do not put you in a negative space.

11)  Live your own life.

12)  Build a strong relationship with yourself. How many people struggle to be alone?     How many people struggle to sit in silence?

13)  Treat people with respect.

14)  Learn to forgive. That was a challenge for me.  I had to realize that I was walking around with anger and resentment. The person who I was angry with didn’t care and it didn't hurt them at all. I learned that all those negative emotions were doing me harm. That's what allowed me to begin the process of letting stuff go.

15)  Lead a healthy life.

16)  Set healthy boundaries with toxic people.

17)  Don't take life too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself.

  One more list, again some of these may overlap.

1)    Becoming self-aware. What is your level of self-control? Understanding your beliefs and abilities.

2)    Know why you need to change. That's for any of you who's sitting up there thinking I'm perfect, why should I have to change? Ain't nothing wrong with me. Are you sure about that?

3)    Journal the change.

4)    Reframe your thoughts. Change negative to positive. Have you ever talked to somebody and everything that comes out their mouth is negative? The person that is great with saying everything that's wrong, but they have no solutions for nothing.Recognize that you look at the world out of negative glasses and you need to take them off.

5)    Decide to change your life. You must make the decision.

6)    Learn to embrace discomfort. Change is going to be uncomfortable. If you can't be uncomfortable and embrace the discomfort, you’re not going to make it bro, straight up.

7)    Identify why you want to change your life. You can say I want to change, why? Identify it. call it out.

8)    Define the changes you want to make. I want to change the way I show up in the world. I want to make changes in the way I think about the world. I want to make changes in how I'm showing up in relationships. To be able to make those changes, you have to be able to see where you are, you must be honest with yourself.

9)    Choose one goal at a time. Set smart goals. Again, why set a goal to run a marathon? Set a small goal of making it all the way around the block first. Then the next goal will be making it around the block twice. The next goal will be to let me see if I can make it a mile. Be prepared for the storms. There will be stormy days.  All days are not sunny.  

10)  Know where you could find support and find supportive people.

11)  Be ready to go the distance. It's a marathon not a sprint. Everybody wants the Quick Fix. There are no quick fix surgeries you can get for change like butt injections or liposuction.

  In the beginning, I asked do you take one step forward and two steps back or two steps forward and one step back or one step back to go two steps forward? When I thought about this question, I believed that one step back to take two steps forward is the best option. In this adventure we call life, we will come across a fallen tree in our path. Taking a step back will allow me clearer vision to see the best way around the tree. Finally, you may be thinking to yourself I don't like pain. Why should I put myself through all this? The first thing I would say is no pain no gain. You know the saying. If it was easy, everyone would have done it by now. The next thing I would say is Mark 8 verse 36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”



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