Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

Secrets to Making Positive Change

By Daniel W. Trathen, D. Min. Ph. D.

It has been said, “There are only two things you can count on in life, death and taxes.” I believe that “change” is another aspect of life we can all count on. Aldous Huxley once said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.” The Duke of Cambridge is reported to have said, “Any change at any time for any reason is to be deplored.” Some of us are like the poet who wrote, “Come weal, come woe, my status is quo.” Many don’t like change, but change is inevitable. Either we deal with it or it will deal with us.

Positive change consists of four secrets. The first is honesty as evidenced in our words and actions. It is a quality most conspicuously absent from American life today. We are continually bombarded by perceptions and deceptions. Many find it hard to get a bearing on what is true. Honesty is to positive change what blood is to the body.

The second secret is choice. Daily living is a series of choices. It is important to realize that we can bring about positive change by taking personal responsibility for our choices in our thoughts, our emotions, and behaviors. We can also bring about change for the good if we want to and are intentional in creating it. It’s our choice!

The third secret in positive change is courage. Courage is the ability to conquer fear or despair through mentally standing fast while facing opposition and hardship. To commit oneself to change means leaving the known security of our present state and to move out into unknown, uncharted waters. Once this first fundamental step is taken, there is no going back and we soon find ourselves learning new ways to assess the appropriateness of our decisions. Be courageous!

The fourth secret in bringing about positive change is having patience in the realization that change happens slowly. Many of us get impatient when things don’t change as quickly as we would like. Whatever needs to be changed didn’t get that way overnight and change won’t necessarily happen quickly. If it did, the chances of it reverting back quickly are great. That is the reason for assessing change through the lenses of “frequency, duration, and intensity.” Is a thought, emotion, or behavior being experienced more or less frequently for more or less time with higher or lower intensity? These are some practical tools to measure different aspects of positive change. Be patient!

Change is inevitable in life. Either we deal with it or it will deal with us. May honesty, choice, courage, and patience be important tools that we “recall” in bringing about the positive changes in our lives.

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