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Why You Should Stop Reading Things About Change And Start To Change

Why You Should Stop Reading Things About Change And Start To Change

Do you have your driver’s license? Do you know how to ride a bike? How about how to use a Smartphone? These must probably seem like silly examples, but bear with me a little. If you only study the theory side of driving a car, you wouldn’t be able to drive, right?  If you only read about learning how to ride, you would probably fall off the first few times you tried. If you read the manual on your new phone, you won’t suddenly be able to master all of its functions.

The same applies with change: you can read a million self-help books, which will give you advice, tools, motivation, and guidance, but unless you put the book down and apply what you learn, your efforts will remain fruitless. Have you ever wondered why there is a wealth of information out there, yet so many people struggle to apply it? Because that is the hardest part, change, and it happens when we stop reading and start doing.

Here are 5 reasons why you should stop reading things about change and start to change now.

1.  Activating the information

When it comes to change, reading alone will certainly not get you any new results; you need to activate what you have learned. You might read some great information that is really motivating, find some great tips, feel inspired, and then… you put the book down and what really changes? What are you doing differently?

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If you are reading a book about how to be more confident, for example, but you don’t apply any of the suggestions, what good is it? Will you become more confident? Unless certain information is applied, it remains useless.

2.  Change is habitual

When you want to change, you must understand that change is habitual. It is not about reading facts, memorizing them, and having a good understanding. I believe one of the reasons many individuals can easily read many books on change, but then struggle to change successfully is because of the resistance one feels when trying to change a habit.

Most change requires change some type of habit or way of doing something. However, your brain is actually predisposed to resisting change, so understandably, it isn’t going to be easy. You have a natural tendency to move away from change and anything that puts you out of your comfort zone, the new or the unknown. You need to do more than just read if you want to change what isn’t working.

3.  You will never know if it works until you try

Perhaps you have read some amazing techniques and tools that you would like to apply to your life. Imagine, you test a few techniques out, and to your surprise, they just really don’t resonate with you.

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This is normal; what works for someone else might not work for you, but you would never know unless you first tried. Change is about trial and error, and reading alone makes this impossible. Until you put the book down and try to change, you will never know.

4.  Change is ongoing

Change can be challenging for some and easier for others; however, change is certainly ongoing. It isn’t a once-off effort; you need to try, test, monitor, and test. Go through what is working and what isn’t working until you have successfully changed what you initially set out to do.

You can’t just make one attempt. Perhaps you need to make a few attempts, but either way, you can’t attempt anything if you are simply reading.

5.  Reading alone gives you a false sense of accomplishment and effort

Many individuals feel that if they are making the effort to read, study, and delve into hundreds of articles that will be enough to change. You might carry a false sense that if you are reading, you are making a change, and therefore, things will change.

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If you find you are always reading but you never take action and don’t know why, explore the possibility that you might be procrastinating because you resist change, even though you can see the benefits. Perhaps as you are resisting change, you spend a lot of time reading about it, but not taking a first step because you are not ready. Spend some time reflecting on this if this resonates with you.

MOVING FORWARD

Hopefully I have convinced you to stop reading and start doing. What’s next? Well, it certainly depends on what you are reading, but here are some general guidelines that should give you some targeted direction moving forward.

1. Get crystal clear on what you want to change/improve and why

What exactly do you want to change and why? How will your life be different if you make this change successfully?
First, start with making one change at a time and put all of your energy into reaching it. Secondly, get clear on the why. Change is never easy; you must expect to face some form of resistance, so you need to know exactly why you are doing what you are doing and use this to motivate yourself when you need it most. Give yourself a reward as well when you reach your objective.

2. Write down the ways in which things will be different

Change implies doing things differently, so what exactly will you be doing differently? You must be clear on not only what you want to improve, but what you need to do to make it happen. Write down what you usually do (how it is now) and then your ‘new’ way of doing (what will be different).

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3. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of success

If you want to boost your chances of real change, consider these 4 important questions:

  • What resources do you have to support you in reaching this objective?
  • What resources will you need that you don’t currently have?
  • What potential obstacles could come up?
  • What can you do to overcome them?

Monitor your progress, tweak what isn’t working, and build on your success until you make the change successfully.

What are you waiting for?  Stop reading things about change and start to change. This is the only way you are going to see different results; thinking alone will not cut it, so you need to take a step forward and make things happen.

You cannot expect to read alone and then experience different results, as this is not possible. Are you going to invest more time and money in reading or are you going to invest your time in activating what you know and getting better results? You always have a choice!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That) 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated) How To Control Your Emotions Effectively 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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