Why Is the First Step So Hard, and What To Do About It


In my last article about raising happy children, I gave a formula that looked so simple, so why hasn’t everyone been using it?

The truth is that the very first step is the most difficult one of that formula. Many of us are eager to change results in our lives, but only by means of relentlessly trying to change others around us. We try to change our children, grandchildren, our parents, our spouses, friends, co-workers, but not ourselves. This is not to say that we MUST be changed. Not at all. The question is, do you want different results you’ve been having in your health, relationships, vocation, or time/money freedom?

Change vs Transformation

If you do want different results, you can’t just wish them into existence and continue to do the same thing you’ve been doing and think the same things you’ve been thinking. Or worse, do MORE of the same thing and think MORE of the same thoughts.

The truth is that outward authentic change doesn’t work without internal transformation. We must put in the mental work in order for the results to align with our true desires.

Here’s an analogy of this concept. Let’s say you no longer like living in the house you’ve lived for many years. You focus on what you don’t want in the house, the neighborhood doesn’t resonate with you, the house is too small, the commute is too long, the interior is outdated, etc. As you look at your budget, you say you can’t afford to move, so you repaint the house and rearrange the furniture. You feel great -everything looks different. The illusion of change you created for yourself will wear off the first time you commute from your ‘new’ house or run into that annoying neighbor again. I have certainly fallen for this illusion many times in my life.

That is exactly what happens with our thoughts. We tend to rearrange the thoughts instead of actually replacing them. We allow unwanted ‘negativist’ roommates to live in our ‘mindhouse’ for free. Ultimately we end up filling stuck in the house and stuck in our own head.

By Design vs By Default

The good news is that we are not actually stuck. We are simply allowing the illusion to run our life as though they were the only options. We choose to repeat a pattern or a story we created in our mind. When we teach our children to see situations from different perspectives and to find gifts in all experiences, we teach them real design tools.

The truth is that as long as we’re breathing we get to create life. We can either choose to live by design or by default. It is up to us as parents to help our children understand this concept. The situations and results our children experience at first are also tied directly to our own thoughts. Remember – we are our children’s first thoughts.

One place to start making changes is in your own environment. We really are the product of 5 people we hang out with the most. So it is essential for your success to have a strong, consistent, non-judgemental support system that will help you notice the thoughts that have been stopping you from the results you really want to see in your life.

Being in charge of our thinking is monumental for designing our lives and for teaching our children how to do the same.


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