Meaningful Change is a Process

Change Next ExitThis week I want to talk to you about change and what gets in the way. In my work I help people in making changes every day, and in my life I am always changing and growing. One thing I know about my change, and the change my clients go through, is that meaningful change takes time and there will be times where you are uncomfortable.

Typically when people start to feel the uncomfortable feelings of change they back down and go back to their old ways. This is because they are bumping up against what gets in their way and it feels uncomfortable. And believe it or not, the discomfort of the old ways that they are trying to change suddenly feel more comfortable than the unfamiliar, unknown of the change.

What I remind my clients, and myself when I am in the process of change, is to relax and breathe through the uncomfortable parts and know that it will get easier. As the process unfolds, you will find a new comfort in the uncomfortable and eventually the new behaviors will come with ease.

Change Takes Time

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are an emotional eater and you are trying to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied and address your emotional eating. You start doing really well and staying very attuned to your bodies hunger cues and you are sailing along. Then  there is an emotional emergency. You now no longer have your coping mechanism and you are feeling VERY uncomfortable. This feeling of discomfort can send you right back to eating for comfort if you are not willing to ride it out and deal with your feelings. The discomfort can make you feel like your choice to not eat is not the right choice because the right choice is supposed to feel good right? Not in this case. The road to change involves walking through the discomfort and knowing it will get better as you learn new coping mechanisms, face your feelings, feel your feelings and deal with them in a whole new way.

Another area I see this come up a lot is with setting boundaries. We all have reasons why we don’t set and stick to our boundaries. Often it is guilt, not wanting to disappoint others, not wanting to be left out etc. etc. So let’s say you are invited to an event but your don’t really want to go but the thought of saying no brings up mass amounts of guilt.  The discomfort of the guilt could very well keep you from honoring yourself so it may feel easier to just go, which is uncomfortable too, but at least you are familiar with that discomfort.

So know that when you are changing and moving forward and then all of a sudden you feel that gnawing angst, but you know the change is good, walk through it. Find the courage to do it differently, face your fears, face the conflict or whatever it may be. You can handle it and it will make you stronger and it will get easier each time you flex your change muscle. And know that it comes with the territory of meaningful, lasting, lifelong change. It’s ok.. it’s a good thing!

Have a wonderful week and make the change!

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