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Pacing Yourself Through Change

OK...let's assume that you're truly motivated to change. Great. But how do you stay that way? That's a very important question, because most people fail to change not because they don't want to, but because they can't sustain their motivating drive throughout the process. Here are a few things to think about, to do, and to watch out for.

First, make a conscious decision about how much of your time and effort you're willing to invest in the change process. This decision will, of course, influence or determine how long it will take to change, the degree of change over time, and so forth. But by quantifying your time allocation you'll be less likely to give too much time to activities that aren't productive. You'll also more easily focus on NOT trying to over-perfect things that are OK as is. And finally, by allocating your time you'll keep your effort in this area in balance with the rest of your life

Next, make only wise comparisons. As you make progress, you're going to want to measure it. Often we measure ourselves by our observations of others. Guard against comparing yourself to the top experts ? those people you believe are absolutely perfect. They'll represent impossible-to-reach targets and you'll get discouraged. Measure yourself against those who are just far enough ahead of you to represent a viable challenge for you.

One way to avoid that trap is to measure yourself tomorrow against yourself yesterday. The old sports cliché of "personal best" holds here. This yardstick measures only how far you've come, not necessarily how far you have to go. It's easier on the ego and generally more positive.

The next idea has to do with getting UNmotivated. Avoid toxic people. Not everyone will share your goal of wanting to become the best you can be. In fact, many people will get jealous when you bring up that kind of subject, and they'll try to shoot you down. Identify these people as soon as you can and run as fast as possible away from them.

Finally, you absolutely MUST learn to accept setbacks. They're inevitable. Conflicting schedules, problems with the learning curve, the need to know one thing you don't know in order to learn another thing you need to know...there are many obstacles. Don't let them throw you. Find some supportive people you can vent to. That'll relieve the pressure and let you move on.

A final note about people you ask for advice. Make sure that there are as many of them as possible, and rotate the people you ask. If you hear too much from any one person, you may find yourself hearing the same messages, limiting your own growth, and perhaps antagonizing the person you're leaning on.

At the very bottom of all this are those core ideas

¨ that change takes time and effort...

¨ that it's entirely your responsibility...

¨ that there are many ways to achieve the same outcome, and

¨ that there are people who will support you.

So it's not at all impossible to change ANYTHING that will help you to grow as a person in any dimension . . . physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Copyright 2002, 2005 Optimum Performance Associates/Paul McNeese.

Paul McNeese is CEO of Optimum Performance Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transitional and transformational change for individuals and institutions through publication. His publishing company, OPA Publishing, is an advocacy for self-publishing authors of informational, instructional, inspirational and insightful nonfiction.

Email: pmcneese@opapublishing.com
Websites: http://www.opapublishing.com and http://www.opapresents.com

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