Creating Positive Change

positive changeChange is a scary thing—even if it is positive change.[1] Therefore, it can be difficult for people to take that leap and alter their lives.1 People are creatures of habit, and change can take all of that away.1

“We fear the unknown, fear failure, even fear success,” said Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and expert in postpartum mental health.1

“We’re afraid that we’ll try and find that we don’t have what it takes—that we’ll discover limits to our abilities that will feel devastating,” added clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, PhD. “We’re also afraid of what we’ll find with the positive change. For example, you’re very familiar with the challenges that come with your bad job: unreasonable boss, unfair paycheck, and poor working conditions. However, a better new position might mean unfamiliar challenges, such as competition, hard work, and an unknown X factor. You don’t like where you are, but in some ways these problems are known and comfortable.”1

Susan Lager, LICSW, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire said, “Other obstacles to positive change include lack of support, awareness, resources, and role models.”1

However, creating positive change is possible.1 Here are some insights from clinicians regarding how you can create positive changes in your life:

Developing Self-Awareness

“The main key is to develop consciousness about the current situation,” said Lager. “Naturally, if you’re in denial about the issue, you won’t be motivated to make any changes.”1

Therefore, Lager suggests a way to develop consciousness by paying attention to feedback from those that love you and have your best interests at heart.1

“For instance, if loved ones are saying you have a problems with alcohol, consider their words. You may not be an expert on yourself at all times, on all topics,” said Lager. “If you’re uncomfortable with that, research drinking problems online and compare your own behavior to what you find. Another option is to keep a record of your drinking habits. You will then be more conscious about the impact of drinking in your life.”1

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

John Duffy, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens said, “Many people believe deep down that they are limited in ways they are not.”1 According to Duffy, this prevents people from pursuing positive change.1

Therefore, identifying your personal limiting beliefs is necessary; however, it can be tricky.1 “You have to think about how you think about yourself. If you experience a great deal of difficulty doing so, a brief course of therapy would help rather quickly,” said Duffy.1

Making Small Changes

“People need to see that they can make small, meaningful changes right now that can build to bigger changes in the future,” said Howes. “For instance, if you’re working on being more self-compassionate, at first, you might set alerts on your phone and place sticky notes on the mirror as reminders to speak to yourself in affirming ways.”1

Never Giving Up

“We feel like we have failed if change doesn’t happen right away,” said Hibbert. “Or we stop working on the issue because we run into stubborn challenges. Change is all about continuing to overcome and learn from the roadblocks. The only failure, as they say, is in giving up.”1

Having Support

Support is so important when you are creating positive change.1 You can find it in therapists, religions leaders, mentors, family, and friends.1

Lager said, “These individuals can provide important insights and shifts away from fear, conditioning, or lack of vision.”1

[1] Tartakovsky, M. (2014). Therapists Spill: The Keys to Creating Positive Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/therapists-spill-the-keys-to-creating-positive-change/00019402

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