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Image / Self / Advice

How to make the change you need and actually stick to it


by Niamh Ennis
18th Jul 2022

Change is hard. I think we all know that. Starting to change is the easy bit, but it’s the consistency and seeing it through part that seems to get us every time. I feel fairly safe in assuming that there isn’t a person reading this who probably hasn’t at some stage or another, said to themselves ‘I’m going to get fit,’ ‘I’m going to sort out my finances’ or ‘I’m going to have that tough conversation with my family member, friend or colleague.’

We think about it, we plan to do something about it, we think some more, we come up with the methods, we wait for the right time, we devise a schedule and then we start. And often we start strongly, but somewhere along the line we get distracted, or fed up or find it too hard and we stop. We allow ourselves, a little predictably, to veer off track and get derailed.

Why can’t we see it through?

Well, because truthfully, we don’t prepare properly before we start to make changes. We just dive straight in. We go immediately to the point of change, focusing on what it is we want to change, rather than starting with creating the best environment for it to happen.

Take, for example, if you want to change jobs. You’re miserable where you are. What might be the first thing you would think of doing? I’m going to guess that it will revolve around updating your CV or researching recruitment agencies, am I right? While that actually wouldn’t be a total waste of your time, you would benefit so much more if you were to begin with getting clarity on what it is you want to do next.

  • What do you want long-term from your career?
  • What matters most to you given where you are in your life, right now? Is it money, is it fulfilment?
  • Do you need flexible hours, or do you want to work from home?
  • What do you not want your next job to involve?
  • What was it about the last job that made you unhappy?
  • If there were no obstacles what would your dream job look like?
  • What’s blocking you from going after that?
  • Do you know someone currently working in your dream job? Could you speak to them?

If you were to shift your focus onto your mindset by answering these questions and getting clarity on your why, you’ll save yourself more heartache and future disappointment down the line, but more importantly, you will be making the changes in a way that will ensure they will be lasting and totally in keeping with who are and what you want from your life.

If you’re in a relationship that’s making you unhappy, rather than dump the person involved and go straight on all of the dating websites, wouldn’t it make more sense to use this opportunity to revisit and review what is it that you want from your relationships, given where you are in your life right now?

  • What matters most to you in the relationships you currently have?
  • What is it you’re looking for in a future partner?
  • Have you felt safe to be yourself?
  • Have you felt heard?
  • Where can you admit you’ve gone wrong in past relationships?
  • What are your non-negotiables?

Remembering that we all change and evolve all the time, what we want from our relationships, our careers and our lives will change too. We need to ensure that we are doing what’s right for where we are now, not based on what we were told we should want or even, what we see other people doing.

The importance of your thoughts

How you think dictates so much of how you live out your life. It determines the decisions you make, the way you feel and the actions and reactions, that you engage in. It is this, that stops you from believing that you have what it takes to see change through; to stay consistent and to keep showing up for yourself.

Are you even sure why you are doing whatever it is you are doing? Why do you want to get fit, why do you want to be in a career that fulfils you, why do you want a partner that wants you too? How can you know any of these answers if you don’t check in on yourself and let those answers emerge?

Quit quitting

This is also why you give up so easily. Quitting becomes a pattern. When things get hard, you stop. When change requires discipline, you cave. When relationships require you to be honest and vulnerable, you opt out. You have become too familiar with taking the easier option and overlook that change, transformative change, requires real effort and it is this effort that makes it so gorgeously worthwhile when you get it.

Why do you keep falling off the wagon?

You have no idea why this change matters to you. Without this information, every bump along the way has the potential to derail you. You need to know why you are doing this and remind yourself of it constantly.

You are terrified of failing. You are scared you will be judged, mocked and laughed at if you don’t succeed with your change.

You are equally afraid of success. What on earth will you do if you get what you want. You have not prepared for that because you are not at all used to it happening!

Your expectations are totally unrealistic. You think you can train for a marathon in a month and that your perfect partner is out there waiting for you to give them the nod!

You lack a realistic plan. You have a vague idea of the steps you need to take to get you to where you want but you don’t know how long it should take and so you wing it.

You are so used to starting and not finishing that you believe it’s just who you are. You are the eternal trier but also the incomplete!

Remember also that we lie to ourselves, a lot. We pretend to be someone we think others will like, we do what we think is expected of us, we get distracted by all the noise around us, and then along the way, we simply forget who it was we are and what it is we want.

Next time you’re contemplating changing something start there and ask “what is it I want for me, from this?” The answer could really surprise you!

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and author. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. If you’re struggling trying to find out just what it is you want then Niamh is hosting a FREE Masterclass called LIMITLESS YOU on July 29.  To grab your free space, click here niamhennis.com/limitlessyou  Find her on Instagram @1niamhennis or niamhennis.com.