Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”–Aristotle
I believe that people can change. Not just superficially, or temporarily. I believe that we have the ability within us to truly rearrange our inner and outer landscapes and transform ourselves, our lives, our world. This is the cornerstone of all the books I have written and all the work I do with my clients: the awareness that we can stop doing the things that hold us back or cause suffering to ourselves and others, and create a life—and a world filled with meaning, peace, justice, sustainability and happiness. Our capacity for transformation is what has fueled my work and gives me hope for the future.
I also believe inner and outer transformation goes hand in hand—we can’t change the world without changing ourselves, while changing ourselves alone is not sufficient for the global challenges we face. That’s why I am part of SheEO—we’re tackling both at once. My personal contribution is more on the individual aspect, hence this blog.
Self transformation is not easy, as anyone who has tried to change a habit or bring something new into knows. Our brains create strong tendencies to do the same thing over and over. We say we’re going to change or do something new, we may even do it for a little while, but soon we find ourselves back to our old habits. To bring new behavior into being takes a lot of work. Our brains have enormous “plasticity,” meaning they can create new cells and pathways. But it takes certain mental preparation, particular awarenesses and attitudes, and lots of practice to make the new option automatic.
Depending on what survey you’ve paying attention to, approximately 45 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent succeed. And 90 percent of heart patients don’t stick to the lifestyle changes they need to make in order to live longer and healthier lives.
I’ve spent the past 30 years learning how to change those odds. And this month, I will be sharing my key learnings on self transformation.
When we have this invaluable tool in our arsenal, the world opens up to us in new ways. We become empowered and through our empowerment, we experience greater satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives. It is my fondest hope that you get inspired this month to take action on the things you want to make happen in your one and only precious lifetime.
Each of us holds the potential for our unique form of greatness. Whenever we bring something positive in ourselves into being, we come closer to living that greatness in all its dimensions. No matter what new habit or dream we choose to cultivate, we’re also growing our souls. For the process of change itself teaches patience, humor, resolve, gratefulness, tenacity, and compassion for ourselves. These precious soul qualities alone are worth the effort.
Why Change Efforts Fail
- Vague about what you want
- Unwilling to go through the awkward phase
- Not setting up a reminder system
- Expecting perfection, falling into guilt, shame, regret
- Trying to go it alone
- Telling yourself self-limiting stories, not believing you can have it or do it
- Not having backup plans
- Turning goof-ups into give-ups, it’s all about failing and restarting, no matter what