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Financial Planning Specialists

How to make a sustainable change

All of us have moments in our life when we realise that we have to make a change. Sometimes change is something we choose, and sometimes it happens to us, forcing us to find a new way to cope.

Making a sustainable change is something that we can choose – before life forces something worse upon us. As Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer says:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We can’t change everything in our lives, but we can change some things. However, it’s not always easy to sustain the change, and this can become a frustrating cycle of to-and-fro that leaves us with a profound lack of serenity.

Change is a process of growth; it’s not supposed to be easy and natural. It’s a process of creating a new natural, and it will eventually become second nature, but getting to that point requires intention, skills and coaching.

STATING INTENTION

For anyone familiar with the 12-Step-Programme, they will know that the first few steps to making a sustainable change involve acceptance. You need to accept that you are responsible for that change that you’d like to see. It’s powerful to articulate, verbally and written down, the changes you’d like to make in your life and accept that you are the best person (the ONLY person) who can make those changes.

This is where we create intention. Without this first step, our efforts will likely fizzle out as our commitment and persistence wane when things get tough.

CREATING A PLAN

Prepare and plan. A friend recently shared his experience of becoming a vegetarian and highlighted how much more time is needed for food preparation and planning. He never thought he could follow a diet that excluded meat, as he was the first to buy a boerewors-roll at the local Saturday market and loved to snack on meaty-leftovers.

Four years down the line, he and his family spend considerably more time planning and preparing meals, and they love it! They’re more mindful of what they’re eating and are living a choice that they’ve made for themselves.

The change was possible and sustainable because they put in the effort to plan meals and do the needed preparation. A bonus of this journey is that they can be more mindful, which is a powerful tool for keeping our head in the game. And, they are able to spend quality time together as a family when they prepare food together

Whether it’s changing your diet, your spending habits or spending less time on social media, planning and preparing your world around you to LOOK different will help you BE different.

SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT

As we look at the example above, another element of their success in embracing a different diet was that they had the support and encouragement of each other in the family. They decided to make the change together.

When it comes to your changes, you don’t necessarily have to have the support of those in your family, but it certainly helps. If your family are not on board, seek out thought leaders or influencers who have the same mindset – they’re a great source of encouragement, and they add credibility, as they most likely did the research!

People who support you help you hold onto the hope of what your changed future could look like; they hold you accountable to the goals that you’ve set for yourself and help you develop your potential.

Above all – remember this: you are not alone. You’re not the only person to want to change your debt situation, change your eating habits, your sleeping habits or bring more balance to your life. Find out, speak out, reach out and begin to see sustainable change in your life.