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10 Ways to Create Change
Do you ever feel like you have fallen into a rut and would love things to change?  Sometimes the thought of change is so daunting, that it feels safer to stay as we are rather than take any risks.  If you would like to experience change in a safe and manageable way, read on to find out where to start.

A small change can make a huge difference over time, for example, if you are driving along a long straight road and make a small adjustment to the steering wheel, after a while you will start to see a small change in your direction.  After a few miles, you will be taking quite a different course, after a few days, you will be way off your original route, and all it took was a tiny shift of your steering wheel. 

Similarly, I read that one biscuit a day equates to maintaining half a stone of body weight, so if you always have a biscuit with your coffee in the morning, and stop: you should lose half a stone in a year. (Providing you don’t replace that biscuit with something else!)

But you see my point?  Small changes in daily habits can create relatively large changes in your life.  So what steps can you take now, to make the equivalent adjustment in your life, and cause things to change in a gradual but inevitable way?  I have listed 10 ideas you can try.  10 minor adjustments you can make today, or perhaps try one a day over a ten day period, and see what the impact is on your life.

1    Change your Daily Travel Routine

Wherever you are going, consider getting there in a different way.  Whatever your normal mode of transport, try an alternative.  Walk if possible, or even walk for part of your journey.  See the same route from a different perspective.  Notice the people around you, notice the different and new things you see, hear and feel.  Notice the impact this has on you, and how you feel when you arrive at your destination. 

2    Smile and Speak to Strangers

In large cities, people can become immune to each other.  In supermarkets, it is possible to conduct a whole transaction without speaking to the person on the checkout or behind the counter.  People stand in queues and don’t acknowledge one another’s existence.  People pass each other in the street without really seeing anyone else.  Try making eye contact and smiling at someone today.  Make idle conversation with the person serving you in a shop or café.  Say good morning and smile to someone you pass in the street. The reactions you get will be mixed, some may ignore you, some may look scared, but some will return the courtesy, and that will make you feel different.  What matters is how this makes you feel inside, because how you feel inside gets projected, to some extent, onto what you present on the outside, and if you change that, you will very likely see some changes in how other people react to you in future.

3    Do Something Kind for a Loved One

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our own problems so that we often don’t realise that the people around us, who we care about, are in a similar situation.  Find something kind that you can do for them, cook a meal, do some job that they have been putting off or get something for them that you know they would see as a treat.  This needn’t involve money; it could be a foot rub or massage, or even just taking time to ask about their day, without mentioning your own.

4    Take Time to Daydream About the Life you want in 10 Years Time

Set aside some time to just daydream about your ideal future.  Where and how do you want to live?  What car, if any, do you want to drive?  What sort of holidays and hobbies do you want to be enjoying?  What kind of family do you want to have?  What’s your house like?  How much do you earn?  What is your social life like?  Look for pictures in magazines and brochures that include images of things that you aspire to and cut them out.  Find somewhere visible to you and stick them up so you can be reminded every day of what you would like to be doing, to inspire you to make the choices, or expend the effort, that will take you another step closer to that world.

5    Create Something

If your head is clogged up with frustrations and doubts, nothing helps more than to do something creative especially if you don’t normally do this.  This might include anything from art, pottery, and photography, cooking, baking, or even dancing.  I often hear “I can’t…” when I suggest this to people, but I always respond with, “when did you last try?”  Every skill needs to be practised to perfect, and every skill you currently have, you have fine-tuned over a number of years.  So lower those expectations, and go and create something for the fun of it.  If possible, borrow a young child (with the parents permission of course!) and do some art with them.  They do not usually have such limiting beliefs about their abilities, and will generally be really nice about whatever you produce. 

6    Do Something You Never Do

Remember I am talking about small steps here, so if you would never do bungee jumping, you stick with that!  I am talking about things more like, “I would never wear a polka dot tie”, or “socialise with work colleagues”, or “buy a ready made carbonara” (one of mine!).  Little rules that don’t have a major impact on your life, and which most people, are not even aware you have.  Now go and break one of those rules, and enjoy!

7    Laugh

What makes you laugh?  Go and do it!  Hire a funny film, go to a comedy club, meet up with friends who always make you laugh, read a joke book.  If none of the above works, just fake it!  Research shows, that even when not genuine, laughter is therapeutic, and usually, once you have started, it becomes authentic, especially when done with a group.  Listen to a recording of The Laughing Policeman Song by Charles Jolly on YouTube, if you don’t believe me!

8    Change the Way You Dress

If you normally wear the same outfit, change something about it.  I don’t mean go to work in jeans if you are a solicitor, just push the boundaries a bit.  If you have an item of clothing that you have been keeping for best, just wear it.  If you normally dress casually for work, smarten up a notch.  You may be surprised how differently people will react to you. 

9    Make a List of 10 Reasons You Would Like to Know You

Take time to think about your good points.  What makes you a good friend, employee, partner, son/daughter or parent?  What do people come to you for?  Remember some of the compliments people have given you in the past and take the time to bask in them again, pick out the elements in them that were being admired/respected/appreciated.  Don’t stop till you have 10.

10    Make another list of 10 new things you can change in your life

Once you have done all of the above, you will have the hang of this approach, so take some time to create a new list, little things, that will, over time, create a big change.
It’s impossible to do all of the above and stay stuck, you’ll see! 

Good luck.
This article was posted 12/11/09