Life Matters: How to master change (part 2)

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Claire Porima, Te Ara Pathways
Claire Porima, Te Ara Pathways
Claire Porima, an expert in coaching for success, shares some simple guidelines for Life Matters.

As you have enjoyed the summer break, and had time out from normal responsibilities, you may have thought about what you want from the year ahead.

According to research, ( ), about half the population makes New Year resolutions but only 8% of people achieve what they said they wanted. That's not a particularly reassuring number, so something is not working.

On the up side, however, research also shows that people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions. This is a far more hopeful statistic, and one that is important when thinking about making positive changes in our lives.

From my experience in coaching, performance management and change facilitation, when we get crystal clear about what it is that we want, we move from a state of limitation, or being stuck, to being in a resourceful and highly motivated state. This is when the best in us comes out. We feel focused, in control and happier because we are doing something important for ourselves.

As I coach my clients through making positive changes in their life, we go through some key steps:

1. Focus on solutions, not problems: rewrite your New Year resolution or plan as if you have already achieved your goal: " I am a successful entrepreneur with my own business"; "I am financially independent"; "I am healthy and fit"; "I am making time for myself to [exercise/read/visit a friend/learn something new etc]; "I am organised and in control".

2. Take action: Make one determined step each day towards being or doing exactly what you want in your life. It does not matter if it a small step or a leap forward: taking action builds up your strength, and keeps moving you towards solutions and away from problems.

3. Make small decisions: we simply aren't wired to make huge changes. This is why New Year's resolutions generally fail because they are too huge and nonspecific (and sometimes made under the influence!). Instead, make small decisions that are achievable. Doing this helps support having a positive mindset, which is necessary when challenges arise and you are being tested by others or by life in general.

4. Go back to the skills and qualities you've already identified from writing your Change Resume, and apply them to your new goals. Knowing what you are good at and how you have mastered changes in the past gives strength for future decisions and actions.

If you stumble one day, be kind to yourself. We are all fallible, we all make unhealthy choices at times, and we are all prone to making mistakes. Review how successful you already are in making change happen in your life and focus on the solution that you want.

If you need to define your goals or the direction you want to head in, visit my website contact page on I'd love to be on your change support team. All the best for 2013!

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