Change is hard. It includes your heart and mind, along with your behaviour and the structures needed to support you through the process of change.
Hearts & Minds: Change includes internal attention to your heart and mind at the same moment.
What is the deepest longing of your heart? Why do you want to change? You need to really get why you want to change.
And then, by paying attention to your mind—often called “monkey mind” in Buddhism—you begin to build more awareness of the dynamic shifts around change: resistance, ambivalence and genuine yearning for real change.
Having compassion for yourself throughout the change process is so important.
“I really want to meditate every morning for 20 minutes. But I don’t want to get out of bed earlier. Still, I want a calmer mind….”
The ping pong of ambivalence creates internal resistance. When you respond to these internal shenanigans with compassion and humour, you are less likely to get swept up in an emotional roller coaster of intention and beat up and more likely to follow through with behaviour changes to reach your goal.
Behaviour Change: inner work is foundational, and it’s helpful to set goals and commitments. How can you make different choices in the moment and create circles of support and feedback?
You set your intention, create a goal, then translate that into specific behaviours needed to reach that goal.
My intention is to stay more grounded and clean my body. My goal is to stay off sugar for one month. I’m at a birthday party where my favourite dark chocolate cake is being served. Can I just have one piece? Or do I stick to my plan?
Moments like these are precious learning opportunities. Empowering yourself to choose. There is no right or wrong.
Goals and following through on commitments, continually repeated with small steps, create change. Repetitions form neural pathways that lay the biological basis for habits and the capacity to hold steady with your intention. Repeat the same thing over and over for about two months, and the new repetition becomes a habit.
As you go through the change process, circles of support are important. Check in with your closest friends and family regularly to ensure that you get what you need emotionally and feel that you have cheerleaders on your team.
Structures are the building blocks of change. What are your present activities? Of those, what are you willing to change? How is your time scheduled and what can you shift to allow for the space to create change? By inviting the details to emerge, you can review and connect with your own specific plans.
Overall, change is simple, but not easy. One path to change is through coaching. It offers you a systemic, step-by-step approach to change. As complex beings, we need clear understanding of our deepest intentions internally, to know how to translate those intentions to goals and habits and to consider our specific structures and external environment in detail.