Are You Ready to Change?

If you're struggling with addiction, here are the 8 things you need to know to create lasting change.

Are You Ready to Change?


What are the necessary elements for change?

Are we truly ready to tackle our problem? Do we see the problem on a realistic scale? If not, it's unlikely we can formulate solutions adequate to bring about the change we want.

My early efforts at sobriety are a good example.

Without comprehensive daily support, my addiction was too outsized to beat. It was like taking a wet sponge and throwing it at a foot-thick cement wall and expecting to break through. You need a sledgehammer for that sucker!

Whether it's addictions, losing weight, or getting in shape, we need to be honest with ourselves about how our past behavior has contributed to the scope of the problem AND our solutions must be commensurate with the problem.

Consider the list below to help you get started on your change.

  1. Gather all the pertinent information you can about the change you want to make from reputable sources and experienced people.
  2. Consider the objectives (steps) you will need to complete to reach your goal.
  3. Assemble a team that will teach, support, and encourage you to complete your goal.
  4. Open your mind completely to the feedback of others.
  5. Get rid of negative people and naysayers.
  6. Expect obstacles and setbacks. Work through related feelings and reset.
  7. Maintain forward progress. Accept some days will be more productive than others. Thats fine, keep going!
  8. Be a finisher!

1/ Gather all the pertinent information you can about the change you want to make from reputable sources and experienced people.

Be it getting fit, eating better, or ending addictions, there is a ton of experience out there to help point you in the right direction.

Who are the people who have successfully accomplished the thing you are trying? You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Who can teach, coach, or mentor you? Seek these people out and listen!

2/ Consider the objectives (steps) you will need to complete to reach your goal.

It can be dangerous to stare at the end goal.

It can feel too distant, looming, or imposing. Instead, consider the component steps or objectives that will help you reach your goal. What are the routines and daily practices you need to perform to be successful? Focus on these and develop routines that support accomplishing your goal.

Success is a collection of good habits and the more effort you put in, the more you will accomplish.

3/ Assemble a team that will support and encourage you to complete your goal.

Another key aspect of change is recognizing that we need the support, experience, and encouragement of others to change.

Everybody has been mentored, coached, or taught by others. This isn't the time to go it alone. Always surround yourself with positive people who encourage you. Do it now.

Assemble a good team. Who do you know who who has experience in making the change you desire? Where do these people congregate?

Go there and absorb all you can.

4/ Open your mind completely to the feedback of others.

Open your mind to their suggestions.

You don't have to take every last one but take notice if you're rejecting the majority of them. If so, this is an example of old, pre-change behavior that will surely jettison your efforts.

A growth mindset is one where you adopt a learner's mindset:

I can succeed with hard work and practice and by learning from others who have succeeded. I will listen and be open to being taught, coached or mentored.

[For more on a growth mindset look at my Resources page].

5/ Get rid of negative people and naysayers.

Your mindset and attitude are keys to your being successful.

There is no place in your life for negative people who want to cast doubt on your ability to achieve. The naysayers have to go. Now! If you surround yourself with positive people who want to teach and encourage you the chances of you succeeding increase greatly.

Negativity and doubt are poisons you can't afford to drink.

When I set out to be sober I wasn't confident I could remain so.

I made sure my time was spent around people in recovery who'd successfully rebuilt their lives. They knew how to deal with obstacles as did my therapist. During early sobriety, I had to deal with financial ruin, divorce, custody issues, and the IRS coming after me aggressively.

At times I wanted to quit.

What's the point, I thought. My support team reminded me that sobriety was essential to my health and well-being and the key to a happy life. They encouraged me forward, assuring me that with perseverance things would get better. Success and a better life were ahead if only I continued forward.

It’s integral to understand that change is a process that occurs over time. It always includes obstacles and setbacks.

Under stress, we can revert to the old pattern/behavior. This is where commitment comes in. Our commitment must be unconditional and sustained no matter what comes, Hell or high water.

Understand that change isn't easy and we have to be willing to pull hard on the oar if we want to move the boat forward.

From commitment comes discipline. Discipline is the daily habits that enable us to grow and change. Do your daily routines support the change you are trying to make? If not, adjust them accordingly.

Expect setbacks and obstacles.

See them as data to learn from. See them as only temporary. A lost battle perhaps, but not a lost war.

Ask yourself why you didn't get the result you wanted. Did you not work hard enough? Were there circumstances beyond your control? Be clear-eyed and see the result for what it is. It's not an opportunity to beat yourself up.

Don't give up. Never give up! Remind yourself why you're trying to change.

Reset, re-commit, and start again. Each step forward, no matter how small is progress. Reflect on your progress regularly so you see it clearly.

Allow progress to encourage you forward.

7/ Maintain forward progress. Accept some days will be more productive than others. That's fine, keep going!

Most of us are aware of our faults and would like to become better people or we’d like to eat better, lose weight, or become more fit.

Why do so many people struggle to make these needed changes? I have worked with thousands of clients over the past thirty years and what I often see is people quit being successful because of a temporary setback. It’s not that they fail, they just convince themselves they have and they throw the baby out with the bath water and quit.

One day clean and sober is a success. One day of healthy eating is a success. Resisting the impulse to reconnect with an abusive spouse is a success.

See your success and perpetuate it.

8/ Be a finisher!

I attempted college three times.

The first two times I quit. The third time I promised myself I would finish or die trying. No more excuses, no more avoidance of challenge. I vowed to show up every day, sit in the front row to force my attention toward the teacher, participate fully, and work to my potential.

I had to work full-time and take care of my daughter on weekends at the same time, but I made it to graduation. Don't ever give up! You can do it! Stay strong! Take heart and be resilient. Persevere and learn the true measure of yourself.

Finish what you start by spending some time every day working toward your goal. You CAN do it!