I am stuck and want to change – I just don’t know where and how to start?
by Dr. Friedemann Schaub
The first step to change is to realize that you actually want to change. Often change itself appears even scarier than the future consequences of staying stuck. And as long as the “what is” feels more comfortable than the “what ifs” of choosing a different direction, we don’t feel compelled to change. Therefore, it is very important to think about the reasons why we want to change. The motivation to do anything comes from knowing why we are doing it. The bigger the why, the stronger the motivation is.
So start the path of change by finding very compelling reasons for changing whatever you would like to change. Consider what it has cost you and will cost you to stay the same—emotionally, physically, financially, and so on. Think about how much energy the current situation drains from you, the lack of joy and fulfillment—you get the idea. This process creates a so called “away from” motivation, away from what is not working any longer. “Away from” motivations can be very powerful catalysts to start moving; however, most often they are not sufficient for real change.
Let’s say you're dealing with lack of confidence or simply hate your current job, creating an “away from” motivation will get you to the place where you are certain that something needs to change. However, since what we focus on increases in importance, staying only with the “away from” focus can eventually make the problem appear even bigger, enhancing the feeling of being stuck. After you have established an “away from” motivation, you need to know where you are going. Otherwise you are trying to drive while looking only in the rear view mirror and you can imagine that this will not get you very far. Therefore, it is imperative to determine and focus on what you want.
There are several reasons why creating a “towards” motivation is so important and effective. First of all, the conscious mind needs clear directions. Changing or reinventing yourself, is just like planning your vacation, you need to determine where you want to go – and then get a map and find out how to get there. Think about how it would look like for you to be confident, self-assured, at peace with yourself – or how it would be to have a job that is satisfying and enjoyable.
Clear directions are very important for the subconscious mind to work most effectively. Remember a time, when you decided to buy that specific car, or were looking for a house, or were starting to fall in love with that special someone. Didn’t you notice that specific car in your chosen color much more frequently than before? Didn’t “for sale” or “for rent” signs magically appear everywhere? And how many times did your heart flip in a somersault, when you believed you saw the special someone in the midst of a crowd, only to find out that you have simply hallucinated . Once you decide what you want, your subconscious mind will tirelessly search for opportunities and ways for you to find it – or at least something close to it.
It is important to define the goal, the direction in a positive way. You can certainly appreciate the difference between “I don’t want to feel worried anymore” and “I want to feel confident, peaceful and free.” Or “I want to be pain free” and “I want to feel comfortable and vital.” Because the subconscious mind cannot compute negations, the “not” goals still keep you focused on the problem.
It is also crucial to not only have a mental concept of what you want and how you want to change, but also to add positive emotions to this desired outcome. Ask yourself “how will it feel, once I have reached this goal.” The subconscious mind communicates through sensations, images, and feelings. Words and mental concepts don’t have any meaning for it, unless they are tied to some kind of emotional attachment. The more positive you feel about our goal, the more importance this subject gains for the subconscious mind, and the more energy and focus the subconscious mind will spend on helping us to achieve it.
Neuro Linguistic Programming offers very powerful processes to create clear goals that give the conscious and the subconscious mind direction and positive momentum. This way, you will be able to automatically shift your energy and focus from the problem to the solution, from limitations to possibilities, from the past to the future, from being stuck to being proactive. Rather than struggling against the problem, you are guided by your conscious and subconscious mind toward the solution and the fulfillment of your goal. After all, 80 percent of success is deciding and focusing on what you want.