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An Action Plan for Making
Difficult Personal Changes


By Jade C. Pulman

Personal change rarely feels natural. After all, you've become the person you are today by following a specific set of choices. Making a choice that goes against those can often feel like fighting against a lifetime's experience. If you feel like making a change is necessary, though, it can be done. Below are a few steps you can take to make it through the difficult process of personal change.

Realize That It is Work

One of the best ways to get ready to start changing yourself is to realize that this process will take work. In other words, it's something that you'll have to keep working towards. There is no magical solution to change, so you should give yourself the luxury of admitting that you'll need time. While you might hope that you'll be able to reach your goals overnight, the truth is that change is an ongoing process.

Prepare for Backlash

It's also important to remember that change will provoke responses, not all of which will be positive. You will be faced not only with external obstacles but also your own inner voice. It's hard to admit that you might have been wrong about things in the past, and you may look for ways to blame others. If you want to succeed, though, you'll have to adjust the way you think. Don't let obstacles get you down, and certainly don't let them determine how you'll view your progress. If you are willing to deal with criticism, you can head off major problems before they begin.

Know Your Goals

A good way to make it through the process of major personal change is to have concrete goals. While making major changes is admirable, the truth is that most people are better able to work toward goals that are concrete. If you want to be a more assertive businessperson, for example, focusing on that kind of grand goal may not give you anything to work towards. If you give yourself more immediate, more defined goals, however, you'll be able to better focus your time and energy. Making changes often involves creating a series of goals that can lead you to where you want to end up.

Make a Plan

If you're going to make difficult changes, make a plan for how you're going to get there. Just like in business, you wouldn't go out and buy a warehouse for rent without doing the research and planning first. It is the same in life, you need a plan for how you are going to make the changes that you wish to see. Make plans that not only assume your success, but also those that will help you when things don't go your way. When you feel like you are lost and unable to be successful, refer back to your plans for help.

Celebrate the Little Things

It's also important for you to celebrate your successes, even if they're minor. You won't change overnight, but that doesn't mean that you won't change. If you notice that you're starting to make progress, you have the right to feel proud of yourself. This doesn't mean that you can stop, of course, but it does mean that you deserve a moment's happiness. Use this as fuel to help yourself move forward, taking the small successes as an acknowledgment of the fact that you really can change. Giving yourself a pat on the back might be what you need to take the next big step.

Anyone can change. It can be harder for some than others, but it can be done. If you are willing to put in the hard work of making a major personnel change, the tips above will help you to succeed. While the path ahead might be difficult, the changes you make will be worth the effort. In time, you'll look back on this difficult period as one spent becoming the person you were meant to be.

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