#WFH: What to You Want for 2021?

You have to be willing to change; if you don’t want to, you won’t. Even if you are willing, it is not easy to change behaviors and feelings that you have had for decades. Many people just refuse to deal with the behavior of the individual. They will sell you theories and models of leadership and organizational change but when it comes to changing individuals…too difficult! Organizations change because people are willing to change. Remember we said it is rare for people to change when they are comfortable. Change is usually something that happens in the individual because of structural tension. In other words, some part of their lives is not working.

To change a part of your life, you need to come to grips with what is currently happening. Not what you think is happening, or what you want to be happening, but what is currently happening. The best way to do this is to write. Writing works because it causes you to focus. You use dual tracks in the brain, audio and visual, and you can do it privately and reflectively. You can do this in many ways: by journaling, making lists, rerunning the movie of your life in your mind and taking notes, creating a cost-benefit analysis, or just writing down what you do all day. Use paragraphs or a chart – there is no right or wrong way to do this. But it is important to do it. Then put it away for a few days and reread it. Is it accurate? Are you being honest or are you deceiving yourself? Your brain can, and will, lie to you when you ask yourself to honestly look at your behaviors.

Next, you want to do the same thing with your thoughts. Thoughts are usually harder to describe realistically than behaviors. We have so many thoughts and they move very quickly through our minds. We tend to deceive ourselves when it comes to our thoughts. Neuroscience tells us that most humans think somewhere around 70,000 times a day. And here is the alarming part: 90 percent of those are repetitive thoughts. That is right – 90 percent! So if you are stuck in any life areas that are not working for you, you have lots of room for change. If you clean up just 10 or 15 percent of your thoughts, you will find your ability to act with autonomy drastically increased. You will be amazed.
It is important to become aware of what you are thinking. Again, writing is the best help. Make a list first thing in the morning of what your thoughts and feelings were yesterday. Thoughts and feelings go hand in hand. You don’t think happy thoughts all day and feel depression. Be honest and take your time. Don’t fool yourself. Do this for a week or more. Then look back at what you have written. Do you see any patterns of thought? What is not working that you want to work on? What do you want to change?

Do not assume these thoughts are reality. Reality is perceptual and relative. We all create our own version of reality as we construct our own thoughts. Even though things are real, we interpret them in our own way. It doesn’t do any good to deny that things are real and that they happen. It does help to realize that you are the one interpreting people, circumstances and events, then constructing your own version of real. Reality is subjective, not objective, as you were taught in school. Shakespeare said, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Try not to distort, judge, criticize or misrepresent, just write down your current thinking and then look for patterns of thought.

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