The Ability to Change is Within You

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 15th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Self-awareness

"The architecture of change involves the design and construction of new patterns, or the re-conceptualization of old ones, to make new, and hopefully more productive, actions possible". ~ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, The Change Masters

Change is a Choice

Choices to change directions and decisions happen daily. You have the ability to give yourself new opportunities in your life; marshaling the resources within yourself to make changes just takes motivation.

When you understand the mechanics or mechanism of change, it is easier to understand how often people change attitudes, beliefs, actions and behaviors.

Think about a typical day:

• You set clothes out last night; in the morning,changed your mind; decided to wear something else.
• Driving to work you saw a traffic problem up ahead, changed your mind, and went another way to work.
• A co-worker mentioned a new restaurant and you changed your mind about where to have lunch.
• You were watching TV and got bored; started changing channels to see your other choices.

Therefore, if we are capable of changing many things in our lives, why are most of them accomplished without all the encouragement, threats, coercion, punishments, and rewards?

Because our ability to change is often selective, we change what we want to change.

Not all Changes Produce Fear

With inconsequential or unimportant changes, rarely is there any fear or negative connections associated with changing the things mentioned in the examples.

You decided that the other available choices would be more pleasant, a better choice, or enjoyable so you had no problem changing.

Why We Choose Not to Change

It is when we cannot see that change is going to be better or that we will feel better because of the change, we often balk, resist, or create obstacles to change.

Recovery - A Opportunity for Change

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that the changes in your recovery will bring about circumstances where you win the lottery since you spent the money on a ticket instead of drugs. There is no promise that because you are not using drugs that you will become witty, debonair and get the prom queen because you are now employed or that your mothering instincts will magically kick in because you are not drunk.

What can happen is that these changes give you an opportunity to learn something new; that you might just experience a non-using relationship and that you can now take a parenting class without the fear of nodding off.

A Puzzling Aspect of Addiction

For many addicts and alcoholics coming to terms with one of the puzzling aspects of addiction – knowing they need to change and doing the complete opposite, is frustrating and scary.

Sometimes thoroughly examining your reasons for doing or not doing something lets you see the aspect of yourself that has prevented you from changing.

Examining your reasons for not changing can help you see if they are valid or may just be an old idea that you can retire.

Can you list the obstacles or barriers that prevent you from changing? There are not right or wrong answers for this, and you should not edit them thinking some of them are dumb or stupid.

• You may be concerned with the consequences of the change – what if people do not like the changed you?
• You do not want to be uncomfortable trying to change the actions and thoughts.
• You disagree with family, friends, and others in recovery if they mention some things you need to change.
• Changing produces anxiety and you use when you are anxious; so you make change a trigger.
• You believe that change is going to be too difficult.
• You are uncertain how to change.
• You are uncertain what to change, as well as what to change into.

When you make your list, use some from above if they describe your obstacles and barriers, but if they do not, then be honest, and come up with your own, so that it is personal and relevant to you.

Personal Obstacles to Change

For some of you, merely knowing what your choices have cost you or the consequences you have gotten is not enough to get you motivated to change. For many of you, the fear of both success and failure will prevent you from moving forward.

When someone tells you what or how to change, you may create a barrier and your attitude can become the obstacle. When they tell you about change, what do you hear? Ask yourself what you hear when someone tells you how or what to change.

• Some of you hear that you are bad.
• Some of you hear that you are a loser, or whatever negative connotation you put on it.
• Some of you hear that what effort you have put into changing is not enough so to heck with it.
• Some of you hear messages from your past.
• Some of you get stubborn and do not change simply because someone told you how or what to change.

How Often Do You Hear About Changes?

Think about all of the categories of people who are telling you to change:

• Someone you care about has asked you to change
• A court has told you to change
• Treatment is encouraging you to change
• People in recovery supportive meetings are telling you how they changed
A part of you wants to change

If this list represents a fraction of the people encouraging change, then there must be some other barriers in you that prevents you from fully and completely embracing change.

May Be Time for a Personal Intervention

Interventions work because they disrupt the normal ways of doing things. Interventions do not have to be from outside sources, but can happen because you are no longer willing to accept the outcomes, dislike the consequences, and genuinely want something different in your life.

Changes Come from Modifying Something

Some people think that the “change” has to come all at once, or that the initial changes will be perfect. Rarely does this happen regarding the ideas, behaviors, and actions that you have operated from for years.

However, you can make headway on the big change by doing and modifying little things daily.

Your solutions are within. Your ability to change is within. Rearranging your thoughts, feelings, and actions can produce meaningful changes in your life

If you procrastinate because the task seems so large and would take you more time than you think you have, spend 15 minutes on it. Make that much headway on the bigger problem.

What often happens is that you end up spending a little more time, feel a great sense of relief that you have made some progress and can get encouraged to do a little more tomorrow.

This works for cleaning your house, detailing your car, or removing obstacles to change.

Giving yourself, a personal reward, regardless of its value to others, validates and encourages you to make additional changes

Reward the Positive Changes with a Personal Reminder

Giving yourself credit when you have accomplished changes can motivate you to make more changes.

The rewards that you give yourself can reflect back to you each time you see the object. For instance, you have always wanted to acquire original artwork, but spending money on drugs prevented you from even considering such a purchase.

Now, you can head to a local art festival or museum and even if the purchase is $500.00, it is still considerably less than you spent on drugs, is an original piece of art or jewelry, and I am assuming, it touches you in some way.

• Hang this on the wall
• Put it on the shelf
• Wear that original jewelry

Each time you see it or touch your neck, your artwork validates your changes.

Art not your thing? Find something that represents a reward to you.

• Dinner at a 5 Star restaurant
• Front row tickets to a concert or theater production
• Fresh flowers once a week
• Day at the spa
• Football game with 50 yard line seats
• New clothes, car or home

The list of rewards will be individual to you, just as the barriers and obstacles were.

For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

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Credits: All images: Morgue Files


Changed Life, Changes, Changing Behaviors, Changing From Within, Changing Thoughts, Choices, Personal Choices, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Recovery And Changes, Rewarding Changes, Rewarding Unpaid Job

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Mark. Thank you for moderating this page. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Thank you for sharing Marilyn ... very informative article. :-)

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Good afternoon, Starleena. Thanks for reading and giving positive feedback. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Michelle Stanley
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Hello Marilyn, It's so true that some people don't adapt to change, or don't want to. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink. I think this article is informative and a lot can be learnt from reading it. Michelle

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Good afternoon, Michelle; you are so right about that horse, and there have been times it applied to me :) Thanks for the positive feedback. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice. Sharing.

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author avatar Ian R Thorpe
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Good post. I have often argued with a group of 'Buddhist' scientists on about changing. They get into conflict with themselves because buddhism says change but science says we can't change. I've asked them where in the rules of science does it say we cannot change ourselves. They come back with the familar cop out "You don't understand science."

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
15th Nov 2013 (#)

Good afternoon, Ian. That explains so much. I was never very good at science, so if I was taught I could not change, I missed that assignment. Recovery said I could change; therefore, I did. :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar M G Singh
16th Nov 2013 (#)

What a wonderful and topical post.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Madan; thank you for the kind words. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
16th Nov 2013 (#)

good points you made here Marilyn and it earns my tweet for sure....

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Carolina; thanks as always for your support. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
16th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice post!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Fern; thank you for the kind words. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
16th Nov 2013 (#)

Interesting article.Motivating.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Nov 2013 (#)

Good Morning, Randhir; thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
17th Nov 2013 (#)

Always interesting and informative, Marilyn. Thanks so much.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Connie; thanks as always. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Informative and analytical, thanks Marilyn. One gets into comfort zones often and need a big nudge. We fear the change will upset our stability. Everyone would like to be on their own but only few have the desire to take the bull by the horns! For me change has to be forced upon me and then I will do the best in the circumstances - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Siva; I believe you have referenced being a change agent for other businesses, so I share somewhat the idea that we know what others need to do to change something, yet can be hesitant to change ourselves - the old "physician, heal thyself." :) ~Marilyn

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