Resist the Urge to Use this Excuse: “I can’t change; that’s just who I am!”
“I can’t change; that’s just who I am” is an amazingly powerful, yet debilitating declaration. Have you ever found yourself using it? Come on, you have, haven’t you? Not to worry- you are in fantastic company. I suspect you, me and about one trillion other people have uttered those words. And to make matters worse, not only is it a proclamation about yourself, but it’s also a general assertion that no one can change.
This statement is so pervasive today that doctors prescribe drugs for ailments that can be controlled by lifestyle improvements because they think people can’t change. We have lowered standards in schools because kids are just who they are and can’t change. Our prisons are full of individuals who made poor choices and society believes they can’t change. Workplaces rarely invest in personal growth and development training for their team members because they feel that people can’t change, therefore, is not a good return on investment. Ugh….please stop the madness!
This “can’t change” mindset is a serious pandemic in our world. It is a silent thief who robs you, me and everyone else of our true power and purpose. I am ready to halt the madness! I say to you, “I CAN CHANGE. YOU CAN CHANGE. WE CAN CHANGE.”
Change can happen with three “Cs”: Craving, Courage, Consistency
Craving is a powerful desire for something, and I am confident that nothing happens in my life without it. Even when I may be forced to complete a task or activity that I don’t want to do, I still have a powerful desire to please the other person or to avoid a certain consequence. Normally, we use the word craving as it relates to food. Consider the last time; you had a craving (or hankering as my grandfather used to say). If you are at all like me, you went to great lengths to get the food, drink, person or object that you coveted. And quite frankly, many times I actually changed my normal routine or thought-process to get it. For example, I am a fairly healthy person who makes every attempt to put the healthiest foods in my body. But I have a major weakness when it comes to sweets, especially cupcakes! Most of the time, I do just fine without those in my diet. However, if there is a cupcake place or bakery in my path, I give myself permission to indulge, and in doing so, I change my regular diet. All change (good and not so good) starts with a craving. In those times, you think you can’t or other people can’t change, get quiet and listen for what you really desire to have happen and I guarantee if the craving is strong enough you will change.
Once you recognize and declare your craving, the “devil” will appear in the form of fear. Fear is the #1 enemy of change. It can destroy your passion in warp speed. Fear presents itself in many forms too. Typically, with me, fear shows up as some sort of rationalization. I convince myself that the thing I crave is not realistic and that failure is the only option, should I choose to pursue my goal. And the bigger the desire, the more doubt assures me that it will be impossible to achieve, I don’t have the skill set or the knowledge, so why bother going after it. Sometimes, fear is so sly that I deflect my desire with thoughts like I don’t really need or want this goal, or that the end result is not really good for me. Fear is a little change demon, and the only way around it is to have courage!!! Courage requires two important ingredients: persistence and faith. Persistence is doing it anyway, and faith is being assured that you something good will come of your desire even when you can’t see it right away. For the record, courage is a choice that you (and only you) can choose to use. Don’t let fear stop you from changing; have the courage to move forward.
Now that you uncovered and declared your craving, and you are courageously making strides towards change, you will encounter one last troll that wants to stop you. In fact, our brain and our ego is not comfortable with new things, making us think we can’t change. It’s like we have a bridge that we need to cross, but on it waits a troll who is waiting for us to slip up, so he can chase us back to our comfort zone. And the only way to cross successfully over this bridge is consistent action, one step at a time. Geez if babies step, fall down, get back up, step, fall down, and get back up when they are changing from crawlers to walkers, why can’t we do the same thing to make positive change in our lives? We can! Consistent and forward progress not only quiets internal fear, but it also creates a new pattern for being. But….it must remain continuous over a period of time. Starts and stops will halt the progress. This is why you have heard it takes 21 days to change a habit. Personally, I have done it faster and seen others do the same if the craving and courage are strong enough. My grandmother always told me stories of how she quit smoking cold turkey when I told her “I wanted to be just like her and wear cocktail party dresses and smoke cigarettes like her.” Yet, most things we want to change require a bit more action. Consistency is the final piece to implementing change in your life!
There you have it – your recipe for change. Don’t let anyone-including you-, declare that change is not possible. Change is essential to our lives, just like our bodies change every day, our circumstances can too. And the best part is we can control it through craving, courage, and consistency.