Coach Jeannette: March 2009
Making it happen: 5 proven methods for creating effective change.
by Jeannette Maw
If you’ve been paying attention to this section of CATALYST over the last several months, you’ve run across a variety of manifesting tips and techniques designed to leverage the law of attraction to create the life you love. But let’s face it- how often do we read or hear something that goes in one ear and out the other? Even if we file it mentally, what good does information do us that we don’t put into practice?
What I’ve learned from working with hundreds of folks just like you and me is that our challenge isn’t lack of information, it’s putting it to real life work that’s the trick.
Statistics say our 2009 resolutions and good intentions are likely wearing thin by now. Research shows that roughly only 15% of us will be successful at achieving goals we set out at the new year. I’m here to increase your chances of getting what you want by offering practical and actionable steps to implement what you know will work for you, whether that’s a deliberate creation tip you picked up here or any other piece of advice you know will positively affect your life.
So for those who haven’t yet taken it from theory to real life, here are five techniques to ensure you put into action what you’ve learned but haven’t yet employed. Choose the one that speaks to you the most and put the odds in your favor of getting what you want, whether that’s a bikini body, bigger bank account or world peace.
Learn, choose, execute
The process of creating any effective change can be broken into three steps:
First, learn what you need to know. Educate yourself about the basic information required to make an informed decision.
For example, if your goal is to get a new job, this step could include discovering your strengths, skills and interests; researching the requirements for the career you want to move into or exploring the hiring habits of your ideal employer.
Once you’re properly informed, you’re in prime position to move to the next step:
Choose a course of action. Based on what you learned in step one, next you decide what course of action will work best for you. Make a commitment to a plan that leads toward your goal.
If your intention was to get in better shape, after researching alternatives for achieving fitness (from step one), you would now make a choice about what actions you are willing to employ. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with information, this is where you sift through it all and commit to what will serve you best.
Now that you’ve chosen an option that most appeals to you, next you simply:
Execute your plan! You learned what you needed to know, made a choice based on that information about what would serve you best, now the final step is to move forward with the plan by implementing it. Take whatever action is called for according to the information you sifted through and the resulting choice you made.
Often we get stuck in learning mode or refuse to choose because we’re immobilized by fear of failure (or success). Sometimes it’s just habits of inertia that keep us from putting into action what we know will serve us. But once we recognize it’s a simple three-step formula and we move ourselves through the formula in order, forward progress becomes much easier.
Often the reason we don’t put to practice what we know would serve us is because we feel overwhelmed with it. Breaking the task down into bite-size pieces makes it less intimidating and increases our likelihood of success.
Every instruction I ever heard on having a “real” meditation practice included sitting for at least 30 minutes twice a day. For a girl who was often too busy to eat, finding an hour in every day to meditate seemed an impossible request. Thus it never happened.
Enter eight-minute magic. This technique asks you to commit not to what might seem an entire overhaul of your lifestyle (which often leaves us stopped in our tracks), but rather just embracing an action or habit for a mere eight minutes each day.
Now that’s doable! Finding eight minutes to devote to an action is much easier than trying to incorporate the big chunks we might have thought necessary to achieve the goal. The theory behind this practice is that making an eight-minute commitment is a cinch, and that once you engage eight minutes of whatever action you chose, you will often be inspired to continue longer.
But even if you don’t, eight minutes a day is better than nothing. One client finished her thesis using this method, after being stalled on it for three full years! And I can now call myself a regular meditator as a result of starting out with just eight minutes a day.
Set it up
Because the first step of any new action or change is often the biggest obstacle, overcoming this first “speed bump” allows swift progress. You can do that by identifying the first, most simple and obvious step as to what’s called for-I’m talking make it “falling off a log” easy-and just do that. No more, no less.
For example, if you’ve got a report due that you’ve been putting off writing, the first obvious step might be to open a new document on the computer. That’s not hard, right? Here’s the cool thing: By doing this first obvious step, you’ve just engaged the programming of the brain that makes us inclined to finish what we start. Whether it’s a bad movie, a meal or a relationship-we have a tendency to want to see things through to completion.
By creating a new document, or putting the iPod next to the treadmill, or choosing a photo for an online profile, we set ourselves up for smoothly moving through the steps that follow.
One of the most popular methods for getting things done is to make a list of the six most important tasks involved, and focusing on those items first thing each day. If you finish the day without completing the list, the remaining items carry over to the top of the next day’s list, where you add additional items (totaling six) that are key to achieving what you want.
Successful people swear by this method, although I tend to practice it as a critical “three” instead of six. I’ve also met people who work with it by committing to doing just ONE thing every day that moves them toward their desired outcome. Much like eight-minute magic, this habit gets us past the obstacle of thinking there’s too much to do, and allows us to focus on what really matters. It also keeps us from getting distracted throughout the day with irrelevant activities!
David Ghee, a meditation instructor at the Chopra Center, suggests the “WPM” solution to participants who aren’t successful at incorporating meditation into their daily habits. The acronym stands for “wake, pee, meditate.” Much like fitness instructors who tell us to exercise first thing, Ghee says you want to connect your desired action to an activity that happens automatically. He says every one of us, every day, wakes up and visits the loo. By tying your desired action to an automatic daily habit, you increase the chances of doing it!
Jack Canfield employs a regular self-love habit of looking himself eye to eye in the mirror every night and saying nice things to himself after he finishes brushing his teeth. Brushing his teeth is something he does every night day, so by tying this powerful self-love habit to it, he’s sure to get it in without effort.
Whether it’s incorporating daily visualization, repeating a mantra or just remembering to be intentional throughout the day-whatever action or habit will help you create what you want-consider one of the change methods listed above to put it to work. This is how significant change happens-by practicing what we know works!
Jeannette Maw is a Law of Attraction coach and founder of Good Vibe Coaching in Salt Lake City. www.goodvibecoach.com