Home | Personal Development | Change Article Archive | Making Progress
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | February 2018 (edited January 13, 2022)
We make progress with small, continuous, and manageable steps.
We can change. Life may feel lacking, pushing us to seek more. Self-improvement, human growth, may cure this dissatisfaction with life; improvements in thought or action increase well-being. Escaping the weight of anxiety, we amuse our senses, dreaming of gigantic life-altering changes; but once engaged, the challenge of adjusting natural reactions, dampens motivations and we lose interest, faced with the drudgery of the task. We bask in comforting thoughts of a better life; but struggle with creating that life.
Sometimes big hopes motivate big action. Other times, not. In most situations, intentional change—the permanent kind—stalls between the dream and actualization. The dreams are aesthetic—they feel good; the work to attain the dream is a distasteful journey. Somewhere in the process, if we are to improve our lives, we must plow through the discomforts, surmount the obstacles and implement the change.
We achieve purposeful change through small painful steps, reaching beyond comfort, and not through a single momentous feat. Implementing successful change is a skill, requiring self-awareness, persistence, and resources. We must acknowledge current realities, envision future possibilities, and engage in the proper work.
Progress is Overcoming Challenges in Each Step of Change
Each step is fraught with challenges. Our realty may be distorted, muddying assessment of the starting point, our dreams may be misguided and unrealistic, and our efforts may be ineffective. But errors can be fixed, failures studied, and corrections employed. To arrive at the desired destination, we must proceed cautiously, objectively measuring progress, acknowledging new challenges and evaluating the effectiveness of efforts.
Often the misguided actions that creates havoc in our lives have a long history, set in motion during childhood learning. These unhealthy patterns entrenched in the basic connections of the mind are stubborn. Although the original implanted learnings were adaptive to a chaotic environment, they often are maladaptive to the serenities of healthy adult connections. These misguided actions, motivated by surges of emotions, need a different approach. The actions are symptoms of faulty learning and protective defense reactions rather than simple causes of being bad.
"Often the misguided actions that creates havoc in our lives have a long history, set in motion during childhood learning."
These deep invaders are subject to change and should be the target of attention. The small manageable steps include recruiting reputable and expert help, avoiding the hype of unproven methods by relying on proven remedies. Lives change when action is addressed through modifying faulty motivations internally and implementing helpful behaviors externally.
Begin immediately, lift your sights to something better, open the door for change, seek effective answers, garner supportive resources and embrace the wondrous journey to flourishing. Courageously, take a small step into the darkness, holding hands with the joys, sorrows and richness that flow with a flourishing life.
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