Skills For Success : “Mastering Change”

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“Mastering Change” March 3, 2010
A Newsletter from Dr. Monique Belton
In this issue “Mastering Change”
What is Happiness?
What is Unhappiness?
What Can You Do To Effect Change?
How To Overcome Your Resistance To Change
When To Seek Professional Help


Greetings!

I have created this monthly newsletter with you in mind. My mission is to inform and assist you through the various trials and tribulations we all face in our everyday lives. Every issue may not apply to you but maybe useful in the future or for someone else going through something at the present time. My desire is that you remain open and allow for learning and growth to take place leading you to a happier, harmonious and more abundant life. I encourage feedback from you so that ultimately your needs are being met and my goal to help and assist are fulfilled.

Please help me grow my newsletter by forwarding it to anyone that might appreciate it’s message.


What is Happiness?

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If you are thinking about changing your life for the better, one way to start is by identifying your goals. You are probably hoping to find some version of happiness or emotional well-being. That might look like any combination of the following:

·    A sense of freedom
·    Self-esteem
·    Self-confidence
·    Happy to get up in the morning
·    Working toward goals
·    A sense of purpose in life
·    Satisfying relationships

What Is Unhappiness?

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If you are thinking about changing your life, you may be experiencing some combination of the following elements:

·    Feeling sad, lethargic or depressed
·    Feeling afraid
·    Abusing or being addicted to alcohol or drugs
·    Feeling lonely
·    Anxiety
·    Problems with relationships
·    Not getting what you want in life; feeling frustrated in working toward goals
·    Not caring enough to have goals

What Can You Do To Effect Change?
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When you decide to change your life, try the following ideas to figure out what you want to change.
  1. Eliminate clutter. Clutter can be viewed as a sign of uncertainty. Accumulating “stuff” might be stopping you from committing to an important thing. If you keep a lot of half-started projects around, it makes it difficult to zero in on the really important things.
  2. Start small. Thinking of your overall goal can be overwhelming. So manage your resistance by choosing one small part of it and attacking it today. Let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds. That can certainly seem like an impossible thing to accomplish. It will seem more doable if you tell yourself, I’m going to lose five pounds by (date).  Unleash the potent force of kaizen, the Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small steady success. Dr. Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way explains, “Kaizen works because it melts away resistance – in particular the “fight-or-flight” brain chemistry behind people’s underlying fear of change”.
  3. Disprove your disempowering beliefs. In Reinventing Your Life, authors Young and Klosko suggest that you identify the beliefs that keep you from succeeding. They offer a way to dispute those beliefs by asking, “Is there really an evidence today that this belief is true?” They suggest making a list of the evidence for and against this belief.  Ask others if there is any evidence that the belief is true.
  4. Remind yourself of all of your available options. You always have alternatives and the power to choose among them.  This strategy can be difficult to do on your own.  Brainstorm options with supportive others.
  5. Take responsibility for what you want. Look for signs that you are blaming your situation on others or not admitting past mistakes. Acknowledge them and move on.
  6. Visualize the future. Author Barbara Sher suggests one way to do this: Write an imaginary press release about yourself. The date is today’s date, two years in the future. The press release is announcing the most extraordinary event you can think of. It doesn’t matter whether this event seems only vaguely possible to you. The important thing is that it is exciting to imagine.


How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change
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Have you ever noticed that when you think about changing your life, you feel resistant? Many people say that they not only feel resistant, but they actually do things to keep their lives familiar. They do things like start a diet and then eat a candy bar on the first day, or quit smoking and then sneak a puff.
There are some things you can do to make yourself less resistant. Here are six effective strategies:


  1. Eliminate clutter. Clutter can be viewed as a sign of uncertainty. Accumulating “stuff” might be stopping you from committing to an important thing. If you keep a lot of half-started projects around, it makes it difficult to zero in on the really important things.
  2. Start small. Thinking of your overall goal can be overwhelming. So manage your resistance by choosing one small part of it and attacking it today. Let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds. That can certainly seem like an impossible thing to accomplish. It will seem more doable if you tell yourself, I’m going to lose five pounds by (date).  Unleash the potent force of kaizen, the Japanese technique of achieving great and lasting success through small steady success. Dr. Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way explains, “Kaizen works because it melts away resistance – in particular the “fight-or-flight” brain chemistry behind people’s underlying fear of change”.
  3. Disprove your disempowering beliefs. In Reinventing Your Life, authors Young and Klosko suggest that you identify the beliefs that keep you from succeeding. They offer a way to dispute those beliefs by asking, “Is there really an evidence today that this belief is true?” They suggest making a list of the evidence for and against this belief.  Ask others if there is any evidence that the belief is true.
  4. Remind yourself of all of your available options. You always have alternatives and the power to choose among them.  This strategy can be difficult to do on your own.  Brainstorm options with supportive others.
  5. Take responsibility for what you want. Look for signs that you are blaming your situation on others or not admitting past mistakes. Acknowledge them and move on.
  6. Visualize the future. Author Barbara Sher suggests one way to do this: Write an imaginary press release about yourself. T
  7. The date is today’s date, two years in the future. The press release is announcing the most extraordinary event you can think of. It doesn’t matter whether this event seems only vaguely possible to you. The important thing is that it is exciting to imagine.
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.  When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning.  Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made.  Don’t look for the big, quick improvement.  Seek the small improvements one day at a time.  That’s the only way it happens –  and when it happens, it lasts.”
    ~John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches in the history of basketball.

When to Seek Professional Help
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Sometimes it makes sense to find a professional counselor to work with as you work through the change process. Here are some ways to know when that would be appropriate:
  • You’ve tried several things but you still have the problem.
  • You want to find a solution sooner rather than later.
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or others.
  • You have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another disorder that are significantly interfering with your daily functioning and the quality of your life.
  • For example, you have lost time from work, your relationships have been harmed, your health is suffering. These are signs that you may need the help of a trained, licensed professional.
Please pass this newsletter along to a friend.
Contact Information

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Reach Monique directly at phone: (631) 549-7314  or toll free  (866) 435-1961

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One way to start making plans for changing your life is to call for a free consultation. I can be reached at (631) 549-7314.

I offer a complimentary phone consultation to anyone that has a question or might be interested in finding out more about my services.  If I am unable to help, I always give referrals to appropriate practitioners or agencies.  Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you feel could benefit from the information in the newsletter or the services I provide.Dr. Monique Belton is a Harvard and Columbia trained licensed Clinical Psychologist and Personal Coach practicing in Huntington, NY.  I specialize in helping people create and develop healthier relationships.  I also help people struggling with insomnia and other sleep problems achieve a better sleep.  Consultation and coaching services can often be delivered by telephone.

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