Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nothing changes if nothing changes

This seeming tautology, which sounds like a Yogi Berra quote, is actually a pearl of wisdom. It tells me that if I want change in my life, I've got to do something about it. Nothing will change if I keep on keeping on in the same old way.

What can I do to effect a change? Here are some ideas that I've acted on:

  • Read a book on self-change and follow one or more of its suggestions. This blog is a result of a suggestion in Becoming a Technical Leader by Gerry Weinberg. He suggests keeping a journal, writing in it 5 minutes per day. He further suggests that if I can't do that, I will have trouble making more significant changes. This blog is my "journal", although I yet haven't managed one per day consistently.

  • Take a class in something new to you, and use it in your life. I recently attended a workshop at church on developing a spiritual discipline, and I've been trying to put pieces of it into practice.

  • Accept an invitation to do something that you're not quite comfortable doing, but that you wish you could do better. I accepted the challenge of being a "visiting steward" in my church's stewardship drive.

  • Look closely and honestly at yourself. Make a list of your assets and the areas where you'd like to change or improve. Look at the things you want to change and ask yourself why you do those things? What benefits do they provide? What other assets or benefits can you replace those with? Is it easier to make the change now? Pick one and work on replacing it. Then pick another. (This process is at the core of most 12-step programs, but you don't have to be in one to use it.)

  • Take a challenge that you're not sure you can accomplish, but that will be fun trying. I'm participating in a "365 project" on Flickr. For this, I take at least one picture every day and post it to my Flickr account and to the Project 365! group. It has been a challenge, and you can tell from some of the pictures I've posted that I don't always manage to get an interesting picture for the day. Also, I'm way behind in posting. But I'm still doing it, and still (mostly) enjoying it. I think that I look at my world in a slightly different way, on the lookout for photo opportunities, than before I started.

  • Tie your new activity to a social network. When I was in grad school, a group of us committed to attending aerobics together. We did very well, because we reinforced each other's attendance. The Flickr Project 365! group is another, and I'm motivated to keep my posting up, because there are online friends who will see them and give me feedback. I'm now tracking my walking with a pedometer, and recording it on I have "comrades" on the site, who will see my progress (or lack), just as I can see them. It helps to keep me motivated and diligent. I started out aiming for 5000 steps/day, and am currently at 9000 steps/day.
What other ways have you found to make changes in your life? How well do they work for you?

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