By Karin Leonard
What does it take to cultivate lasting results?
Whether it is breaking outdated habits, balancing business and personal
life, or achieving important goals, like so many other people, you may
feel frustrated with making change work. This article series explores
important ingredients for enduring triumph.
When moving in a new direction
or attempting to alter behavior, do you get impatient with yourself?
Do you take on a whole new plan, go full force and then sooner or later
let go of the whole thing?
In these “fast food” times of instant gratification and dizzying speed
of life, is it no wonder that we expect ourselves to transform just
as quickly. All you have to do is turn on the TV or open a magazine,
and you are bombarded with promises of immediate and miraculous results,
be it changing your body, getting rich or the fulfillment of all desires.
However, the charm of quick fix schemes wears off quickly. Letting go
of the illusion of instantaneous change is a significant step in the
quest for real results. What does work is the gentle approach: become
supportive of yourself, and make a sustainable plan for success. Take
into account the complexity of your life, the different roles you play
and what you can realistically commit to.
When embarking on the road
to change, inner conflicts often surface. Dissimilar aspects of yourself
may want differing things. If internal disagreement goes unchecked,
it can waste a lot of energy and leave you feeling drained.
You are probably familiar with the voice of the inner critic, for example,
constantly nagging you about what you did or did not do. Reminding you
of how you “should have …” or “could have …”. Transforming that voice
into an ally can bring tremendous vitality, alignment and inner peace.
Becoming your own best friend, and shifting self-talk to encouragement
rather than putdowns makes lasting results possible. Just like the gardener
steadily nurtures the seedlings and pulls the weeds, voices of victory
create a climate of possibility and excitement rather than anxiety and
Next time you notice negative
self-talk, experiment with replacing the negative thoughts with encouraging
words. You may even wish to keep count how often you successfully make
that switch during the day. Don’t worry if you come up with a high number–
all it means is that you are becoming more aware of what goes through
your mind! That awareness is crucial for shifting towards a supportive
mindset, and makes it possible to turn the inner critic into a coach.