When I was growing up, I had a toy slinky. It was a coiled piece of plastic (or sometimes metal) that shapeshifted it's way down the stairs. Flipping and flexing.
The slinky also got adapted to be used as a skipping rope at times ( Don't think it was made for that?). Became a bungy jump for various action toys off bridges and I even found the odd slinky lurching towards my face, unleashed from a friends hand, to get whipped back and recoiled at the last moment before impact with my eyes!
The slinky would bend out of shape, even get itself in a tangled mess, that needed focus, persistence and rewarded you with the satisfaction of success when it returned back to it's coiled form.
The slinky was really good at keeping it's slinky form. Bouncing back in the face of our multiple attempts to make it something more than the slinky that it was.
In maintaining behaviours, we can draw upon the principle of a slinky. Know your purpose and always return to the form that works best for you and your goal.
I am in the business of change.
Every week I witness clients create profound and even exhilarating changes to their life, from shifting beliefs about not being good enough, to changing careers or letting go of traumatic experiences, that stop fun stuff being fun.
It’s often rewarding to see how simply, with the right knowledge, skills and awareness, change can come about.
Often, much to your own surprise as well.
Something that has been, essentially a burden, for years. Shifted in a matter of a few hours or even minutes.
The problem might feel complex. The change can come about surprisingly simply, when you know how.
Maintaining the change, is an important part of any shift in belief, behaviour or feelings you might have had.
A relevant aspect of “maintaining” a change in your life, is to find acceptance with it.
It might feel tempting to spend time wondering where the old stuff has gone?
The momentary disbelief and confusion of “It’ can’t have been that easy can it?”. Leads you to test for the old problem, to try and draw it out of the cupboard. The disbelief that something, which you felt was a stuck part of you, could have been shifted by just a few new skills or perspective.
Acceptance let’s go of the old stories. Acceptance focuses on the new tools you applied to get the outcome you now have.
Rather than scrutinizing “Has it really gone?” Acceptance calls confidently, “We’ve got this” and accedes the new actions that help you move forward.
A significant change in your life is likely to feel different, because well. That’s the intention. To make a difference.
This isn’t about denying the stories or behaviours ever existed. I mean your mind has seen and experienced all that came before the now. So there is no point telling it fibs.
Acknowledging the old stuff as “past” and focusing on only what you can bring now and for the future too.
"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new" Socrates
Making lasting change (like a habit or a belief) is most effective, when you accompany it with the wisdom that life is constantly in flux.
Whilst we like to look for patterns, consistency and massively over-generalize aspects of our life “ I always do this” or “I would never be able to …” or “It’s going to have to be this way”.
Any change will hopefully be informed by a new confidence in yourself to keep that part of you in flow.
Really invest in the belief that: If you changed it before, you can do it again!
You might have experience in the past of losing a new belief or behaviour, for example falling off the band wagon with a habit or losing faith in your ability.
If this is familiar it can be helpful to look at two opportunities here.
a) Where is consistency required?
b) Where is flexibility required?
If something around you has changed, it’s important to observe this. Often the key to understanding your adaptations and the key to maintaining this new habit, life style or belief.
Repetition of any action is good, particularly when it comes to the muscle memory of our brain.
If you stopped doing something consistently that worked before. Start again.
Flexibility is always useful in maintaining patterns too.
If something surrounding your life has had shifted, this might be time to fine-tune your actions and thoughts to keep things in the right direction. To upgrade a lasting behaviour change.
Perhaps you mastered a fitness lifestyle when you were single and then you enter into a relationship and see your healthy habits slip?
Maybe you get a new job and feel like all your team are way more qualified than you, and suddenly you find yourself holding back and becoming shy. When you were the one, in your previous job speaking up and leading actions when things were all so much more…familiar.
The maintenance of change, might take you regularly out of your comfort zone. Because to learn things new or differently. You are committed to confidently embrace new and different things.
If you find you are struggling to maintain a habit, or that an old unhelpful belief is creeping back in.
Be kind and willing.
Instead of berating. Getting angsty at yourself and feeling like the whole effort to change has disastrously failed.
Press pause and take a step back.
The most effective mindset for maintaining your change is to find yourself the hope, curiosity and willingness to adjust. Keeping yourself calm and open to discovering.
Take a step back. What has changed around or within you, that means your patterns of thoughts, feelings or behaviours’ are wavering?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself, to find yourself back in control of that new way of thinking or being.
Is the change still of value to me?
What is there, that was not there before?
Are you feeling interested in getting back on track, or are you feeling totally disheartened?
Do you have everything you need to keep it going?
What have you stopped doing, or started doing that has impacted the outcome?
What is my role in getting back on track?
Here is a real tie-you-in-a knot question for you?
What has changed, to change "the change"?
Maintenance of any change does not have to be arduous. It can be found in a place of hope, courage, curiosity and confidence. It can even be a fun part of living.
See yourself as the person with a choice and solution to handle shift in your life.
Imagine how amazing it feels to have the skills ( or even super-powers) to get yourself back on track.
Find the self-esteeming belief that motivates you to adjust and evolve. Take time to understand those things that are of personal value.
Ask for help if you are struggling to discover what it is that has changed.
Evolve, adjust and find yourself right back where you want to be.
To learn more ways to create meaningful and lasting change in your life, book in a FREE discovery call or subscribe to the mailing list.