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Creating Healthy Conditions For Sustained Change

People never stop changing, and we never stop growing.


This is both a blessing and a curse. The irony is that most of us crave stability, but the more stability we have, the more bored we become and the fewer opportunities for growth we have. The more turbulent the situation becomes, the more opportunities we have for growth, although with turbulence comes anxiety, depression, bodily complaints, stress, and other unpleasant emotions and bodily states. The key to managing the desire for both change and stability comes down to a word that I’ve talked about again, and again, and again:


Balance. Like all things, life demands balance!

There are many other conditions that must be met to create successful and sustained change, that are not covered in the SMART goal model.


As I discussed in a previous blog, if I want to make changes and I want to be successful in implementing and sustaining these changes in my life, I need to take a vastly balanced approach. Many people have heard the term SMART goals for (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely). It has become quite popular over the years, and many people have likely seen it in their workplace, employee evaluations, and perhaps even from their children’s school. And although this is a good start, there are many other conditions that must be met to create successful and sustained change, that are not covered in the SMART goal model.


Our brains work on the concept of Expectation.


For example, as you read this sentence, “The school bus is yellow,” your brain already knew the words that were coming, and because the sentence matched your brain’s expectations, your brain is happy. But if I wrote, “the school bus is blue.” Your brain will not be happy. Some people might even struggle to picture a blue school bus, or decide that the concept is ridiculous. This is how powerful the brain’s desire for expectation is.


When we decide to make meaningful and sustained changes in our lives we are working against habits, formed by the power of Expectations.

Now, expectations for “The Self” are a little bit different than expectations for reading sentences. Expectations for “The Self” are rooted in Self Beliefs, which are often rooted in our families of origin and whatever childhood trauma we grew up in (see next week's blog post). Often times our childhood creates the conditions upon which we form our self-beliefs, including our self-worth, our self-esteem, and our confidence.


The reason why so many of our New Year’s resolutions fail, isn’t because we are lazy, or lack willpower. It is because no matter how “SMART” the goal is, we have to challenge the powerful Concept of Expectation formed from “The Self”, rooted in our past.


One of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite movies growing up is when Rafiki taps Simba on the noggin in the Lion King. Simba exclaims, “Ouch, why did you do that?”. Rafiki says, “What does it matter? It is in the past”. Simba, “yeah well, it still hurts”. Rafiki laments, “yes, the past can hurt”.


Come heal, grow and create together





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#counselor #balance #smartgoals #relationships #growth #change




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