How To Make Sure You'll See
Real Change This Year
by Cathy Goodwin
"This year will be different," we promise ourselves. We write resolutions. We
create lists. Maybe this year we'll make the big shift to a new business or a
So we write, Step 1: Get insight into ourselves.
But in my experience, it's easy to fall into the Self-Analysis Trap: days,
months and even years of "thinking." Many of us would like to believe that the
First Inning of our Second Career begins with an armchair, a self-help book and
But real change begins with action.
Action creates energy.
Have you ever spent a whole day driving? Lying on the couch with a heavy-duty
remote control? At the end of the day, you're exhausted.
Action fuels thought.
The world looks different as you sit in your living room. When you get off the
couch and face the outside world, your answers will change.
Action is a test of our readiness to change.
Are you thinking of hiring a career consultant? Before you pick up the phone,
take some small action on your own. Get a list of articles from the library or
web. Make some phone calls.
Are you moving?
That's a good sign. Back on the couch? Maybe you're ready for the idea of
changing but not actual change.
Want to change? Do something different. In Thunder and Lightning, Natalie
Goldberg advises writers to overcome blocks by changing small elements of their
lives. Take a different route when you walk home, she suggests; if you normally
drive with your left hand on the steering wheel, try the right.
Do something alone that you normally do with others: shopping, traveling, eating
in a restaurant.
Do something with others that you normally do alone.
If you have a routine for evenings or weekends, dare to alter your routine at
In his book, How People Change, Allen Wheelis pointed out that changing yourself
is pretty simple. If you want to stop being a thief, don't steal. If you want to
be a writer, write. Sounds simple -- but it works.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, external events force you to change in a positive
direction. Serendipity has moved from the woo-woo category to the mainstream
Can't get moving?
If you are really, really unhappy, but you can't get yourself to take even one
action step to change your situation, consider some form of psychotherapy.
Sometimes you are at a point in your life when it's time to do nothing, but
inability to act can signal serious problems, such as clinical depression.
Need a next step?
Sometimes, I find, clients are stuck not because they're depressed, but because
they honestly have no idea what to do next. When starting a new career,
relocating or starting a new business, they're crossing uncharted territory.
And sometimes clients hire me because they need a sounding board. Let's face it:
we usually feel alone when we're making any kind of career move.
Maybe you believe in New Year's Resolutions, or maybe you prefer to take life as
it comes. Regardless, I can promise the new year will bring exciting change and
adventure, but only to those who leave the couch and begin taking action.