“Out With the Old, In With the New:” Letting Go of Old Practices and Embracing New

Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”  Do you believe it to be true?  In last month’s blog, Erica Morat wrote about a “new hope.”  She gave us some insight to the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset.  In taking the quiz offered by Erica, which mindset did you discover for yourself?  Were you happy with what you discovered?  This month’s blog will help you discover the essential tools needed to adjust your mindset around change.

It’s a new year…a time for resolutions…a time when we put our best foot forward with renewed spirit and hope.  What better time to take pause and truly think about change?!  How do we embrace change?  As difficult as it can be, at some point in our lives, we must all deal with change.  Our mindset is a big predictor for how we will handle it.

Simply put, in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are fixed traits.  They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.  They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.  They are wrong.  Contrary to this, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. (Dweck 2006)  Simply put, attitude predicts achievement.  You can get better at anything that you set your mind to.  You just need to work at it!

Here are the top 10 ways to make effective change in your life!

  1. Embrace your inner adventurer:
    Don’t be afraid.  That first step may be the most difficult, but no one gets anywhere in life by sitting still.  Step outside of your comfort zone.  Think of the sense of accomplishment you will feel afterward.  That is your motivation!
  2. Identify the need for change
    Clearly something has been nagging at you.  Something inside you has triggered that feeling that things have got to change.  Let’s face it; otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this!  Visualize the why that brought you to this point.  Begin with the end in mind and move forward from there.
  3. Come up with a plan
    Set priorities and come up with an action plan to carry out the necessary steps to achieve the end goal.  It is usually at this point where people give up because of the angst and anxiety this can provoke.   Before you allow that to happen, move to step #4 and read on! Visualization leads to action!
  4. Develop strategies for setbacks
    For those of us resistant to change, comes the inevitable meltdown.  When this happens, don’t beat yourself up.  Take a breath and reboot.  Go back to steps #1, #2, and #3 as many times as needed to re-regulate yourself.  It helps to remind yourself of the reasons why you are here in the first place.  Be kind to yourself.  Remind yourself that change takes dedication and hard work.  Minor setbacks are expected.
  5. Set up a point of contact with a friend or loved one
    Having someone you can rely on through your journey of change can help.  Be sure to pick someone that is not afraid of “tough love,” but knows how to show it through encouragement.  You may need that extra little nudge to keep you motivated.
  6. Communicate with yourself
    Journaling is a necessity to help you through change.  Recording your thoughts regularly can help you gain insight into your behaviors and moods.  Journaling can also be beneficial for problem solving and stress reduction.  This tool can greatly enhance the ability for your mind to grow as you continue through your journey toward change.
  7. Breathe
    Meditation has multiple benefits.  According to experts, meditation can help improve your concentration, leave you less bothered by the little things, and help you get to know yourself a little better.  This again, can help you gain insight as to why you are creating change for yourself.
  8. Practice and role play
    Our attitude affects not only ourselves but also the attitudes of everyone around us.  The more you practice stepping outside of your comfort zone, the better you will get at it.  It may seem silly at first, but no one needs to know except for you and your bathroom mirror!  This tool is effective and powerful in helping you achieve success.
  9. Believe in Yourself
    Remember, “attitude predicts achievement!”  The more you believe you will achieve, the more likely you will actually achieve.  Believe in you…I know I do!!
  10. Don’t look back!
    Even when those negative thoughts come creeping back in, don’t look back.  Keep practicing. Focus on your goals. Remember…you have worked hard to get to where you currently are.  You have grown. You are an achiever!!

Patty Ordway-BennettPatricia Ordway-Bennett
POrdway-Bennett@ocmboces.org

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