Change is good!

I used to know someone who insisted on coming back a different way from wherever we went – it drove me batty! I mean, if you’ve just popped to the local shop for the paper, it can be pretty hard to do for one thing. And, like following a routine, it can save you time and effort to do things the same way.

But it can also get you firmly stuck in a rut. And that rut can severely limit your outlook, your options and your enjoyment of life.

Do you know Einstein’s definition of madness that says it’s “doing the same thing the same way and expecting to get a different result”?

Change can be difficult simply because we’ve programmed ourselves a certain way through repetition and, when we lose concentration, we fall back into the old pattern.

It can be difficult because it takes effort.

It can also be difficult because those around us expect the same from us that they’ve always had. They expect us to do the same so we do the same so they expect us to do the same and on and on…….

It can be frightening, too. You so desperately want things to be better, different, more exciting…but what if it all goes wrong? Well, it may but, with careful planning, risks can be managed, pitfalls sidestepped.

And what if it all goes right? Can you really bear to let the opportunity pass you by?

Tip: If you need to change your thinking, change your location. Usually do your thinking flat out on the sofa? Try sitting on the stairs or the edge of the bath or standing in the garden. And remember, a new habit can take 6 weeks to stick so keep at it. Write yourself a reminder or put an everyday object in an unusual place to jog your memory. Just try not to get so used to it being there that it no longer serves its purpose!

How to make life bearable at work – plan your escape!

Imagine you’ve been sent to prison for life: there’s no prospect of early release or time off for good behaviour.

You can sit down under it and try to make your cell a bit more homely, befriend other prisoners and maybe some guards, wait for visits from people on the outside. You can shrink your world down until what little you have fills it up.

And then, perhaps, news comes that they’ll be letting you out.

Suddenly, you have something to work towards, something to look forward to. You can review your options, make plans and visualise a better time ahead.

I expect you see where I’m going with this!

If you believe that you’re stuck in a dull, dead-end job until they pension you off (probably stingily!) or you keel over, you can try to make the situation as bearable as possible but, slowly and steadily, your world will shrink. Your confidence and self-esteem and, quite possibly, your health will suffer.

You need a vision of what’s beyond your cell walls; you need a sense of what’s possible beyond the confines of your existing world to give you a goal to work towards. Having an escape plan can be enormously motivating and the knowledge that you only have to tolerate what you don’t like for a measurable amount of time longer can make it all much more bearable.

It needs to be a good escape plan, though! You need to put a lot of thought into it and ask yourself some questions that will help you to set clear targets. Here are some to start you off:

Where do you want to be in 6 months’ time? No pussyfooting here, no setting up barriers! Imagine everything is perfect: where are you? Who (if anyone) is with you? Exactly what are you doing? How have you financed yourself?

What do you know/need to learn to get you to where you want to be?

Who do you know/need to get to know?

What have you got (in terms of finance/equipment/skills) and what do you need to acquire?

Do you need to consider doing something different as a temporary measure to fund your project?

I’d use Mind Maps to help me think all this out – maybe you have another preferred method. Whichever you choose, set aside a few hours (not necessarily all at once), let all your creativity loose and get all your ideas down on paper. Then you can pick the best and make a start!

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