Prepare and Decorate Your Changing Room
Questions and Action Steps
Become R.E.A.D.Y. for Your Change
Welcome to Module 1 in your course “The 5 Steps to Overcome that Habit or Hang-up so You Can be Energized, Hopeful and Creative Again.”
In order to move in one direction or another you have to take action. I can be lying in bed after hearing the alarm clock go off, but until I decide to put my feet on the floor and stand up, I’ll keep lying there. In order to move, your mind has to convince your body to take ACTION and get up.
If you’re driving a car traveling south and your obnoxious GPS voice says “make a U-turn at the safest possible turn around and head north,” until you are ready to turn the wheel, you will continue traveling south. You have to be ready to get up, and you have to be ready to turn the wheel.
In order to get a different result from any action, you have to be ready to change the way you’re doing something. This will enable you to come out with a different result. What usually motivates us though is some kind of pain or discomfort.
I’ve heard many people say that they would like to lose weight, stop smoking, get along better with their spouse or children, or have more money, or more time or more friends. But most of these people are not ready to take the steps that are necessary to have these things in their lives. They’re wishing, but they’re not ready. They are not experiencing enough pain or discomfort with their existing set of circumstances. It was C. S. Lewis who said, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, but He shouts to us in our pain.” It’s because of His love for us that He shouts.
To be ready to change you have to be sick and tired of the status quo. You have to be so fed up with the outcome of all your past or current choices and be ready to commit to a new way of doing things. There is a saying I’m reminded of: “Your best thinking got you where you are today.” Your best thinking is now showing up as the framework of your existing situation.
In life we all have choices. Keep listening if YOU have made a choice to take action to change something in your life.
As women, we’ve all been in a dressing room where we try on clothes. We take off the worn, out of date garments that no longer serve us and make us look frumpy and old and we put on the stylish, sleek, new ones that excite and make us feel sexy, confident and accepted. Just like a dressing room, we want to now find and decorate your changing room and get it ready for your changing experience. We’re going to try on all those new attitudes and mind sets and make sure they fit just right so your new change will be lasting and permanent.
In this Module I want you to decide what to hang on the walls of your changing room that will enable you to become READY to make your important change. Because in order to take the action required we must be READY for our changed life. Using the acronym R.E.A.D.Y.
R – Remember and learn from the past,
E – Eliminate the negative thoughts,
A – Ask for assistance,
D – Decide to let go, and
Y – Yearn for what is best.
R – REMEMBER AND LEARN FROM THE PAST.
Go into your box of old pictures and decide which ones represent the lessons you’ve learned from the past. You’re going to hang these pictures on one wall of your changing room. It could be a picture of someone who mistreated you either physically or emotionally….someone you loved but didn’t return that same kind of love. It could be a vacation picture of a place you never want to return. Anything from the past where a hard lesson was learned. Sometimes we have to dredge up the past in order to learn from it.
If you are alive today you have a past. By God’s grace we survived the past. I know I did….The past is everything that you’ve experienced, whether good or bad in all your days leading up to today. We are a product of these experiences, and much of our mindset and our beliefs are based on the outcome of these past experiences. If you’ve lived any length of time I’m sure there are some bad memories from poor choices in the past and we tend to be swayed by these past events and the way they turned out. But now, it’s my goal with this Course for you to have a new perception of the past and not repeat it. It was the Spanish philosopher Santayana who wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Many times blocking the past because of mistakes is the path of least resistance. But we must realize that mistakes are inevitable, and because of our society we are judged by our past mistakes. But we must not blame ourselves or other people. As soon as we start blaming others we lose any possible lesson. Release yourself from the bondage of blame and move your focus to understanding. Don’t be ashamed of mistakes but admit them and then analyze them in order to determine how not to make them again. Think about your frame of mind or the events or people around you leading up to the mistake. As you analyze and inspect those situations, you’ll be made aware of the possible trigger that caused you to make the mistake. Always remember that God has already forgiven you, so just receive and accept His forgiveness and then forgive yourself.
Because of our cultural values admitting mistakes tho is truly difficult. We are judged and graded on our performance in many areas of life. As children in school and students in college we are graded and evaluated based on our performance, and poor test scores and mistakes are not tolerated. We’ve also been taught a performance-based religion. We are not worthy of God’s love unless we keep the Ten Commandments. We are taught that mistakes and failures are wrong, and we are made to feel guilty. This sense of shame, combined with the inevitable setbacks when mistakes are made, explain why many people give up on their goals. They’re not prepared for the mistakes and failures they face in their lives or the people who want to constantly judge them. What we want to realize is the more challenging the goal, the more frequent and difficult the failures or setbacks may be. The larger your ambitions, the more dependent you are on your ability to overcome and learn from your mistakes. It’s been said that the greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually afraid you will make one.
There are many types of mistakes we’ve made. For me the life learning lessons usually came as a result of relationships that failed or unpleasant situations that involved other close friends or family. Sometimes it’s easier to admit a mistake to yourself when others are not involved or affected by the outcome. The memory of these past mistakes often paralyzes us from taking any action at all. We can use that memory for motivation as long as we remember where we went wrong and don’t let the fear of making another mistake keep us stagnate.
It’s not just our own past we must learn from but the past of our previous generations. When we are willing to listen and learn, some of life’s most meaningful teachings come from those who have gone before us. Others have experienced many of the things we are faced with today. I was blessed in my life to have parents and grandparents who guided me toward choices that would be beneficial. As a teenager and young adult I ignored and rebelled against their guidance and ended up a victim of my own poor choices. As I’ve gotten older I now look back and try to learn from those poor choices and realize that my parents were examples of faith, commitment, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that I now strive to duplicate. I have their picture on my changing room wall.
Go ahead…….Let’s decorate that one wall of your changing room. Hang up all your pictures….good and bad that will remind you to learn from your past. As you’re reminded by these pictures of those good and bad times, you’ll instinctively know the actions that came as a result of the thoughts and mindsets that got you there. You can then discard those thoughts in order to not repeat the past mistakes. We’ll get more into that in Module 3, Changing Your Mind. For now, let’s just get those pictures up there.
E – ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.
Now, find a comfortable chair or couch to put in one corner of your changing room. Decide the color and material based on your preference and what represents comfort and serenity to you. Then, lay back with your eyes closed so you can focus on your thoughts. I know this is easier said than done. Our minds are constantly chattering away at us and most of that chatter is negative “should haves and could haves.” You should have said it this way, or you should have done it that way. You could have received that promotion if you had accomplished this goal or that goal. We are our own worst critics, and until we learn how to channel our thoughts into more positive inner feedback and learn to forgive ourselves for any perceived wrong doing, our lives will be constantly filled with negative emotions that will spill out into all our activities and relationships.
There is a lot of material out there on the market right now that deals with overcoming negative thoughts and having positive visualization experiences or daily affirmations that will reinforce our mindset. I know, because I’ve bought and downloaded a ton of them. Personally, what has helped me the most in life is coming back to the spiritual message that God loves me and nothing I can do will make Him love me less. And that I should love myself and others just as He loves us. It’s through that love and grace that I was finally able to forgive myself and others.
In order to become ready for any change of action we must eliminate any negative thought that would keep us from accomplishing our goals. I’ve always related to the David and Goliath story in the Bible. David was the small young shepherd boy who volunteered to fight the giant Goliath in a battle between the Israelites and Philistines. David was ready, and he did not have any doubts or negative thoughts about his ability to kill the giant Goliath. He chose not to wear the heavy armor or carry the big weapons. He used only his simple slingshot that he was familiar with. When the giant criticized, insulted, and threatened him, David didn’t stop or even waver. David knew what God needed him to do and he did the right thing in spite of his fears.
As you’re lying on your couch in your changing room, visualize yourself like David and face your obstacles and fears in life with unwavering confidence. You are little David in a sheepskin loin cloth with a slingshot hurling stones against that giant of your worst fear or enemy. Doesn’t it raise your attitude and make you smile a little? Get up and go now with THAT feeling of assurance and self-confidence.
A- ASK FOR ASSISTANCE.
When you’re in a dressing room trying on clothes and need a different style or size….you just ask the sales attendant to help you out and bring you one. When in your Changing Room you’ll also need to ask for assistance. This has been a tough one for me. I’ve always been so independent, thinking that I can do it and I’d rather do it by myself than ask for help. Independent? Maybe. Stubborn? For sure! Don’t let a stubborn attitude keep you from experiencing the full joy of reaching a goal with the help of others. It was John Donne, the English poet from the sixteenth century said, “No man is an island…” None of us can reach our full potential on our own. We all depend on one another and in many ways all our actions affect others.
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us have not come to this point in our lives without the help of loving parents, teachers, coaches, or mentors. Somewhere along the line there has been someone who has taken the time to reach out and assist us with our plans and dreams.
We need to continue that effort and seek out people who are like us with the same goals and ideas and form groups that are benefited by the knowledge of all the participants in the group. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have independent goals of your own apart from the group. But, have a larger group goal or purpose where everybody contributes and shares and grows. This will give you more meaning and purpose in life.
No matter what the reason you are asking for help or assistance always remember that it’s okay to ask for help. You should never be embarrassed or worry about other people judging you. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s a known and reported statistic among mental health providers that most people wait too long to ask for help. Stop living in denial and ask for help.
Also, be sure to ask the right people for help or assistance. A plumber can’t help you with your electricity. You need people who are specialized in the field where you are seeking help. Getting help when you need it is part of being responsible to yourself.
I have found that no person has all the answers but we need other people in our lives that share our understanding and believe in our goals in order to have the most fulfilling life.
In order to become ready for change be willing to ask for the right kind of assistance.
D – DECIDE TO LET GO
The other wall in your Changing Room needs to be decorated with pictures of things you need to let go of. You see the quote “Let Go and let God” on everything from wall plaques to t-shirts. This is our reminder and should be tattooed behind our eyelids. Until we let go of whatever it is that is holding us back from experiencing our highest self, we’ll feel trapped. We need to do it and let go of it—and do it now! When you let go of that bondage or whatever is holding you back there is a freedom that comes from letting go.
Depending on where you are in life what you need to let go of differs from person to person and from time to time. Most of us have been through relationship breakups, death of a loved one, failed businesses, bankruptcy, or some other type of negative life experience that holds our thoughts down. But we must remember the decisive word here is “through.” We’ve been through it. We’re no longer there; that was in the past and we are here now. Therefore, we need to forget it and let it go. No amount of worrying or thinking or lamenting over it is going to change the outcome. Get Over It! Until you do, you cannot become ready for the next adventure in life that is planned for you.
I read a story about a man who had lost his career as a well-paid flight controller who was now driving an airport hotel van. He moaned and complained to every passenger he took to the airport about his situation. Back in the 1960s his union illegally struck against the US government to gain better working conditions. The government refused to negotiate and told the union workers to go back to work and warned them that if they refused they would be replaced. Most of the workers refused, and every one of them lost their jobs. They were immediately replaced by people who were happy to work for the original wages. Needless to say, this van driver who endlessly complained to all his passengers didn’t make many tips. The only tip he mostly received was, “Get over it.”
But, we must never let go of hope! One day you will see that it all has finally come together for you. What you have always wished for has finally come to be. You will look back and laugh at what has passed, and you will ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?” There is a famous quote that says, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Life teaches all of us the art of letting go in many different ways: letting go of the old in order to embrace the new, letting go of what’s not working so new things can come that will work, and letting go of trying to fix things or make things work out in our own timing.
As you study the pictures on the wall in your Changing Room decide which ones to let go of in order to change our life.
Y – YEARN FOR WHAT IS BEST
Now, look out the window in your Changing Room toward the horizon. Your horizon may be an ocean sunset or the pillowy clouds enfolding mountains in the distance. Whatever your horizon, try to see beyond to discover what to Yearn or hope for in your future that will get you back into not just a good situation but the best situation at home, at work and in your community.
One of my favorite statements when someone tells me something I like hearing is “That’s good.” But, you see….that’s the problem. It all may be good but we need to ask ourselves, “What’s best?”
Sometimes we settle too soon. We settle for something that’s good but it may not have been the best thing for us at the time. Don’t let the good interfere with the best. There are many good things that we all can do. Each of us possess many talents, and we have many opportunities to be productive. We just need to be sure that it’s the best choice. The good is always the enemy of the best.”
When we are doing OK and getting by we are tempted to kick back and not try as hard. We continue to do the same old thing. It’s comfortable and we like the comfort of the familiar when things aren’t so bad. In every field of work there are those who show enormous promise early but fail to live up to that promise.
There was a young economist who showed promise as an entrepreneur in economics. He had turned his PhD dissertation into an important book. Then he went to work for the Federal Reserve System and disappeared. He never wrote another article, let alone a book. He has earned a very good living but has had no publicly visible significance since the day his paychecks started rolling in. He settled and exchanged the best for the good.
I’m sure every one of you knows of at least one situation where a young person has settled far below their potential in life and given up on the best. If you are to become ready you must yearn for what is best.
In order to accomplish anything in life you’ve got to give up the good in order to achieve the best. That means that some good things have to go in order that better things may come. This touches so many areas of life—how we spend our time, especially our leisure hours. It should cause us to examine our habits and the friends we hang around with. Some things may not be wrong, but they just aren’t the best for us. Some friendships may not be bad, but they keep pulling us in the wrong direction or they keep us from going where we need to go. This also applies to our hidden areas of life, the part of us that no one else ever sees. If you want to grow, the good must go in order that the best may come. Yearn and search for what is best.
If you will study these 5 keys for positive life changes they will enable you to discover the difference between dreaming of a better life and actually living it. Change starts with 1 idea or thought. Change is accomplished when you decide you want a better life for yourself and your family. Start with 1 thought, then take 1 action. The next day take another action or continued action and before you realize it, you will create that change you’ve desired. Your life will be better and you will be happier.
I’ve prepared some thought questions and then some action items for you to start practicing as you get READY for your big change. As we get further into the Course and start learning how to change our mind and our body you’ll need to have completed this part and reflected or journaled about the action steps you’ll find on the downloadable pdf below.
I am honored that you are here and look forward to the rest of this course with you. I know it’s a lot but Hang in there with me. This is so important for your future. I’m proud of you for taking this small step toward your goal. Change starts with you, one thought, one choice, then one action at a time. I’m committed to helping you change!
Let’s do this…..Dare to change Your Life Today!