The clients I see at my office want change in their lives. For some it’s improving their athletic abilities, while others seek to do better in school, or develop healthier life habits. Regardless of the change desired, all of these clients share in the same challenge in that they must get out of their comfort zones if they want positive future results. Simply put, if you keep on doing what you have always done, you’ll keep on getting what you have always got.
Stop the insanity!
The term insanity is often defined in a tongue-in-cheek way as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Add to the fact that we as human beings regularly seek the path of least resistance life, and you can see how challenging it can be to employ new and different strategies toward personal issues and problems. When we fail to employ new methods for future positive change (the “insanity” approach), we often experience even more frustration because we don’t see new results. Think of it like a gerbil running in a wheel — every day feels about the same as the last because we really haven’t done anything differently.
Make calculated changes
While it is true that you will most likely need to change thinking, patterns, and behaviors in order to experience future improvements, it’s important that you critically evaluate the nature of your changes. For example, if you’re a student struggling with grades, it might be a “change” to go to the library in an attempt to study — but if all you do while at the library is sit at your computer and surf the web you probably won’t see any academic improvement (in fact, you might even see a further decline in your academic marks). This is an important point to remember as I have worked with clients who have made changes in their lifestyle, but the changes haven’t been well-thought and the lacking results ended up creating even more frustration and stress.
While we all have the potential and capacity for self-improvement, positive future change requires that we alter our thinking and behaviors, as well as engage in strategic change rather than simply “doing things differently.” As humans, we tend to take the path of least resistance and follow fairly predictable patterns — but if the goal is a happier and more productive tomorrow, taking easy, predictable paths will likely only provide you more of the same of what you have been experiencing. Identify the things you want to improve upon in your life, develop specific and measurable future goals, and get out of your comfort zone if you want tomorrow to look different (and better) than today.