There are three core reasons why plans to change fail us: the dissatisfaction that drove motivation to change has dissipated to indifference; the vision to carry us the journey has withered from relevance or importance; or, the plan to forge and achieve the change was either ill-conceived or we didn’t stick to it.
Whenever we think of the life changes we’ve made that didn’t stick we can analyse these occasions for insufficient dissatisfaction, lack of focused vision, and the lack of conception of or adherence to a plan to achieve the change.
1. Maintaining The Hunger Of Dissatisfaction
Motivation is, and will always be, the key ingredient compelling us to first believe we can change, and then to inspire whatever it takes to make that change happen.
Dissatisfaction with the status quo is a primary driver for a change-engendering period of adjustment.
The problem of the human default, however, is we remain dissatisfied for only a period of time, once the change is applied; then, we start to believe our own copy—we’ve got this change licked! But, as we should know, pride always precedes a fall.
Maintaining the energising dissatisfaction that started us off in good stead is simply about ensuring memory is not lost of how it felt to be sick-and-tired-of-feeling-sick-and-tired. We need a legacy to it so we remember why we needed to change in the first place.
2. When The Vision Has Withered
There are few people who can maintain focus and concentration on the vision without severe prodding. Although vision is about believing in an end we feel we are capable of, it is more so—like above—about not forgetting how or why we developed such a vision in the first place.
The vision for change most often comes from the intensity of dissatisfaction.
When we begin justifying the softening of our vision we need to be careful that we don’t betray the person inside us who agreed to the earlier vision. We too easily betray an earlier version of ourselves; the one we should be listening to.
Our momentary compromises have us paying a hefty debt, sometimes even to the point of spiritual bankruptcy.
Memory is critical to both the above two, but it’s a lack of care in the planning that hurts us most with the next one.
3. Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
We have probably heard clichés like the above spouted so often the truth to their meaning is lost on us, and it is a powerful truth.
Planning can only fail for one of two reasons; either we planned poorly, and the conception of the plan was maligned from the beginning, or we did not diligently adhere to the plan, and therefore our plans didn’t cater for digression.
Any good plan considers possible excursions from normal practice, and plans an appropriate response for each of the issues identified.
We all need change in our lives from time to time. Embedding change is much harder than initiating it. We need to plan for problem solving regarding the maintenance of change. Only then can we reach our goals with sustainability.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
This is a companion article for, Steps to Turning Life Around.