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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life

9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life

Every year, many of us may have launched initiatives to prepare for change in the form of resolutions. We often feel inspired to reflect, look back, and take stock of our lives, deciding what is working for us, and what isn’t.

The changes we seek may be relatively small or short-term, such as losing those holiday love handles or decluttering the garage. We may also feel a strong desire or need for more profound, long-term transformation in the form of a career change, quitting a long-term habit, or moving to a new town.

Whether we deliberately pursue personal transformation and growth or have it thrust upon us, we can greatly improve our chances of achieving success by preparing for the changes we seek.

In this article, we will look into 9 ways to prepare for change. These tips will help you navigate transitions both small and large, and set you firmly on the path toward the life of your dreams.[1]

1. Understand the Logical Levels of Change

It’s important to understand how change actually works so you know what to expect during the process.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we use the Five Logical Levels to understand what’s involved in making personal change. This is a simple model that gives five useful windows through which to view any issue.[2]

Here’s a quick breakdown of the five Logical Levels:

  1. Identity – Who are you? What roles do you play in your life?
  2. Beliefs – Why do you do what you do? What are your values and beliefs?
  3. Capabilities – How do you do things? What are your skills and strategies?
  4. Behaviors – What are you doing? What are your current behaviors?
  5. Environment – Where, when, and with whom do you displaying your behaviors?

Changes and factors at each level impact those above and below it to a greater or lesser degree. For example, changing your environment may affect the levels above it, but altering a belief you hold will most certainly influence the levels below it.

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To shift a behavior, which is the level we typically target when we resolve to prepare for in our lives, we often need to become aware of and adjust our underlying beliefs and sense of self, build our capabilities to include new skills, and possibly support the shift by changing our environment.

Let’s use an example to walk through each level; you’re unhappy in your current career as a Chartered Accountant and have decided to go back to school to retrain as a Registered Massage Therapist.

  • Identity – Is your purpose to be happy and fulfilled, or to be the successful bread-winner of your family?
  • Beliefs – Do you value helping others? How much do you value income and status vs. happiness and satisfaction? Do you believe you are capable of making the necessary changes?
  • Capabilities – How will you gain the skills you need to become a massage therapist? What training will you need? What soft skills will you need that you don’t currently have (i.e. communication, making people feel at ease)?
  • Behaviors – Aside from physically leaving your current job, what other behaviors might need to change? Will you need to cut down on luxuries to afford the transition? Are your beliefs in line with the changes you will need to make?
  • Environment – Does your current environment support the necessary changes (i.e. your spouse, boss)? Will you be able to study and work in your current situation, or will you need to move? When is the best time to make the transition?

2. Get Clear on Your Desired Outcome

Take the time to clearly define exactly what it is you want to accomplish as you prepare for change, in terms of what it will look like, when you want it to happen, how long you want it to take, and a basic outline of how you will accomplish it.

This is particularly important for those who like to jump right in once they’ve made a decision; enthusiasm is wonderful and will serve you well, but you also need a clear path and solid understanding of what it is you want.

This article can help you with this: How to Makes Lasting Changes with Smart Goal Setting

3. Create a Pros and Cons List

It’s inevitable that with big change come fear and doubt. Even when we know a particular decision is right for us and will benefit us in the long-term, we may feel pulled back to the familiar and comforting behaviors, habits, jobs, and situations we are attempting to leave behind.

Make a list of the reasons you want to change. What are the deeper desires behind your decision? What specific positive outcomes will you experience as a result of your change? What are the negative consequences of NOT changing?

Create a detailed list of your answers to these questions, and post them where you will be able to review them often. When doubt creeps in, or when your motivation lags, your list will serve as an encouraging reminder of why you’re doing all this in the first place.

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4. Imagine the Outcome

Visualizing the end result as you prepare for change is a great way to create a richly imagined successful future outcome as positive motivation on your journey. From your imagined place of success, you can then ask yourself how you got there, creatively envisioning overcoming any obstacles and challenges from a place of guaranteed achievement.

Richly visualizing the life you will experience after you have accomplished your goals as a daily exercise is also a great way to practice manifesting your reality. If you’re not sure how to visualize results, check out this article to learn more.

You can learn some more simple hacks to help change your life in this video:

5. Ecology Check

An ecology check[3] is simply holding your envisioned end result up to the microscope of inquiry:

  • What possible obstacles or conflicts may arise?
  • What mindsets, habits, or behaviors might sabotage your efforts?
  • How will achieving your desired change affect others in your life (family, friends)?
  • Are there any sacrifices you will need to make? Are you ready to make them?
  • How will your life need to change in order for you to achieve your end result?
  • Is the end result aligned with your core values and beliefs?

Asking yourself these important questions before you embark on a significant life change can save you time, effort, and heartache, and allow you to make any necessary adjustments ahead of time.

6. Build Your Assets

Make a list of any assets you currently have, such as money and other resources, skills, training, talents and supportive individuals.

Now make a list of assets you still need to acquire in order to successfully accomplish the change ahead of you, including things like adopting new mindsets and behaviors, training and education, mentorship, and physical assets, such as living and working spaces, loans, or transportation.

Make a plan for how you will obtain any skills or resources that are currently lacking as you prepare for change.

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7. Create Contingency Plans for Possible Obstacles

Once you’ve envisioned your desired future outcome and scrutinized it for possible challenges and obstacles, you can come up with plans for those possibilities.

You don’t have to go into too much detail; just decide ahead of time how you might handle the bumps in the road should they arise.

For instance, if you anticipate resistance to your life decision from those around you, you might prepare a short and punchy answer to the question of why you’re doing it.

8. Create an Action Plan

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we start to prepare for change, even if we want it. Any worthwhile life change involves letting go of familiarity and stepping outside our comfort zones, and this can be a frightening experience.

Having a clearly defined action plan will not only help you stay on track with your progress, but also provide you with reassuring structure in the midst of what may, at times, feel like chaos[4].

Prepare for change with an action plan

    When you formulate your plan, be sure to chunk it down into manageable daily tasks and action items, and set several achievable milestones along the way.

    Start creating your action plan: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

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    9. Keep Calm and Carry on

    Remember to be compassionate with yourself. Making significant personal and life changes can be challenging, and as with any journey, there will be bumps as well as milestones along the way.

    You will make mistakes, and there will be unforeseen setbacks. Stay present as best you can, stick with your action plan, and review that pros and cons list you created to remind yourself of why it’s all worthwhile.

    Take time each day to visualize your desired outcome, and don’t forget to celebrate those little milestones and victories along the way.

    The Bottom Line

    “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”  -Barack Obama

    As the former president of the United States makes clear above, you’re the only one who is responsible for the changes you make in your pursuit of a better life.

    As you prepare for change, be clear about what you want and what you need. Identify the skills you need and find the environment that supports you to make the change you desire, and you will be the change you’ve always wanted!

    More Tips on Making Changes

    Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Mike Bundrant

    Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

    How to Get Motivated to Go to Work Every Single Day 12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter Your Age 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader

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    Last Updated on January 12, 2021

    7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    Changing your mindset is no easy task, but having an open and positive mindset is a game changer. Your personal growth is what propels the choices you make for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Just something as simple as changing your thinking can change your life.

    Importance of Mindset Work

    There’s great importance in spending time doing mindset work. Within this period, we begin to understand ourselves, and through that understanding, we become more compassionate and patient with ourselves.

    Our society and culture thrive on the busyness that life brings not only into our lives but even to our dinner table. With that comes some consequences of using “band-aid” solutions and quick remedies to get through particular blocks in our lives. Those solutions never last long and it’s about committing the time and effort to slow down, ground ourselves, and reshift our focus.

    Changing your thinking is not only to be more optimistic but giving your mind the breathing room it needs to grow and expand. It’s about looking at everything that hasn’t worked for you and being open to other ways that might.

    How to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

    Here are 11 practical ways to change your thinking:

    1. Show up

    Not feeling the gym? Go anyway. Don’t feel like playing the piano after making a commitment to practice every day? Do it and play.

    The payout of showing up and committing goes a long way. It builds confidence, and with that growth, your mindset begins to change.

    Of course, showing up may not always be fun but by meeting these small goals on your list allows you to tackle on the bigger ones that may seem far out of reach.

    2. Find an Anchor

    We all need an anchor, or in other words, we all need something to believe in when our thoughts are wavering. Whether you are religious, have a spiritual connection with a higher power, or have someone who grounds you – hold onto it.

    My dad first introduced me to the Law of Attraction when I was 17 and to be completely honest, I thought it was silly and never gave it much thought. Fast forward ten years and the Law of Attraction has become so integrated into my daily life that it’s become the anchor in my belief system. That anchor is also what propels me to be a better version of myself. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel when I have convinced myself that light does not exist.

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    The purpose of an anchor is to ground you when your mind and/or external factors come weighing you down. It’s about having faith and trust in that one thing or power when everything else seems to go dark. This is one of the most important things you need to have if you want to begin to change your mindset.

    3. Ask Why

    It’s really that simple. In order to change your thinking, you have to dig deeper into what it is that’s causing a reaction.

    • Why does it bother me that another person took the parking slot that I was waiting for?
    • Why do I feel uneasy when I dine at a restaurant alone?
    • Why do I feel happy after I purchase a new outfit?

    We ask “why” to a lot of external factors, but very rarely we ask that about ourselves. It’s also a way to get to know yourself as if getting to know a friend.

    As we begin to answer these questions, we realize that it’s not the external factors that bring happiness, sadness, guilt, or joy, and it’s more about understanding our own values.

    Now, have a conversation with yourself and reflect on your answers when you do ask these “whys.”

    For example:

    The reason why I’m irritated at this person for taking my parking slot is that I’m busy and have endless errands to run. I don’t have time to be looking for another slot.

    Reflection: how am I managing my time and are these time restrictions causing me unnecessary stress? I should prioritize my errands so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

    The reason why I feel uneasy when I dine in at a restaurant alone is that I don’t want people to think I have no friends.

    Reflection: I care a lot of what people think of me including strangers and it affects my emotional well-being. I don’t have these thoughts when I see another person eating alone, so why and when did I start having this opinion about myself? I should start dining out alone so I can learn how to step out of my comfort zone.

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    The reason why I feel great after purchasing a new outfit is is that I feel confident.

    Confidence is key because it determines how I show up when I meet strangers, clients, and overall how I carry myself. How do I maintain this confidence without splurging on a new outfit everytime I need that extra boost? I could wear my glasses or carry a book with me to help me play that part.

    Having these mindful yet straightforward conversations with yourself are simple ways you can change your thinking. Reflection is the key to understanding your strong and weak points.

    Here is also a great article on the power of self-reflection and ten questions you should ask yourself.

    4. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

    As mentioned above, we all have a comfort zone. Like a turtle, we feel cozy and safe inside our shell, but to change your thinking, one must be willing to step out of that shell no matter how much that shell feels like home.

    Our mindset will only begin to change if we allow ourselves to be exposed to the possibilities of change. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest things you can do, but it all goes back to building your confidence.

    Some of the most significant friendships I have to date is all thanks to the five seconds I decided to step out of my comfort zone, introduce myself, and carry a converastion.

    Strive to learn something new every day – even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at first.

    Still wondering how to step out of your comfort zone? Take a look at this article:

    Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

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    5. Look at Things from a Different View

    I once asked a friend what self-love meant to her. She answered, “self-love means being a parent to yourself.”

    I was never expecting that answer, but it got me the wheels in my mind exploring other definitions of what self-love could mean to others and myself.

    Changing your thinking also means being open to other opinions, especially if it challenges your own. You’ll begin to realize that the more mindset work you dive into, the more you will be approaching new opinions and ideas from a grounding and calming place. Things that used to have you on your defense will slowly turn into a question of curiosity instead.

    6. Slow Down

    Here’s the thing. You take the same route to work and leave your house at the same time. While on you are getting off the highway, you stop by your favorite coffee shop to order your daily brew, then you’re out the door and heading straight to the office.

    During this daily routine, have you ever noticed the color of the corner building right before you get off the highway? Or have you noticed whether your barista is left-handed or right-handed?

    Probably not, because most of the time we tend to live our lives on auto-pilot.

    Science says we make about 35,000 decisions a day;[1] therefore it makes sense that half the time our minds are on auto-pilot. There are great setbacks that come from having this “auto switch” including having those feelings of mindlessly scrolling through your phone or being so deep in your thoughts that you are mentally checked out.

    One way to change your mindset is slowing down. When you slow down, you begin to find yourself in the same tune and vibrations as the world around you. You begin to become aware of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. You start becoming present.

    If you want to change your life, you must be present in the life you are currently living in. By being present, you begin to shift to a state of gratitude.

    7. Eliminate the Excuses and Create Solutions

    How often do we use the word “but?”

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    For instance, “I want to eat healthier but I’m so busy that I can’t meal prep,” “I want to buy a new car but I’m still paying off some of my debt,” “I would like to start my own business but I don’t have the time or finances for that.”

    Now eliminate the “but” and imagine how you would feel if these external factors weren’t much of an issue.

    This is a simple but powerful technique in changing your thinking. It’s all about tapping into those emotions and eliminating the roadblocks that we spend so much energy focusing on. Instead, begin shifting your focus from the but’s and toward the “how’s.”

    Here’s some nice advice for you:

    How to Stop Making Excuses and Get What You Want

    The Bottom Line

    Changing your mindset is a work in progress and one that should be eye-opening as it is rewarding. It’s about getting to know yourself on a deeper level and creating a friendship with yourself along the way.

    There’s no one solution fits all, but it all comes down to taking that first step.

    More Resources About Living a Fulfilling Life

    Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

    Reference

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