Change is something that we expect to see in children. From poor behaviour or choices, to those which are more responsible and in line with the morals we teach them. In adults, change isn’t always expected, as people wonder if they are too old to change. Let’s think of the sayings we hear.
Stuck in their ways….
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…
And the classic I am who I am
All of these imply that a person over a certain age isn’t able to change, nor should they have to.
I respectfully disagree. Change is what keeps us moving forward. I don’t say this as some high and mighty entity who has never done a thing wrong.
I say it as someone who burned with resentment for years, and changed.
As someone who lacked motivation for years, and changed.
We aren’t trees or rocks. We are people. And people are capable of quite a lot if they set their minds to it.
Now, change isn’t easy. Consider how old you are. 30? 40? This change could involve taking a behaviour or thought process that you’ve had for most of those years, and trying to adapt it to a healthier one. It could even be a learned behaviour that you saw from someone you respected, making it that bit more difficult to let go.
This could be to do with your physical or mental health, as well as general life and parenting. Change can help in all of these places.
There are a few things you can do to help yourself meet with success.
Tell Your Loved Ones
If those around you are aware of the changes you want to make, they will be more able to help you. Want to lose weight? Tell your best friend so she knows to leave the cookies at home. Want to spend more time reading? Tell your mum so she can get you some new books for your birthday. One of my changes was to be less of a shouty parent. So I told Ash and Feena. We now ALL tell each other if the other person is using a rude tone or raising their voice unnecessarily.
Consider the WHY
Changing for the sake of changing may not work. You need to think about why you want to change, and keep that goal at the front of all of your actions. I didn’t want to be the nagging, yelling mother all the time. Childhood is finite. I keep that in mind whenever I think about raising my voice. 99% of the time I don’t shout now. The other 1% is reserved for dangerous actions that require an immediate, loud response. When you start to live this way, questioning why you do things, it can help you to make those better life choices, and thus potentially reduce any regret later on.
Be Kind to Yourself
Deciding you want to change is just the first step on a very long journey. Sometimes you’ll go forwards, but other times you might revert back to old patterns. That’s normal. Blips happen with everything, whether it’s altering your diet, quitting smoking, or even using old behaviours. It is vital here that you try and keep it down to a blip. Don’t allow one little incident to ruin your change completely. Again, this is speaking from experience. After 7 months without a cigarette I had one… then another… until I was back smoking again. Now I need to start my quit all over again. Be kind, and keep going.
Learn to Apologise
Alongside being kind to yourself, you also need to learn to say sorry, and mean it. Not only will this teach you some level of accountability, but it can also help to keep you on track. This can also set a great example for your children. Using my earlier change, regarding shouting less, if I do find myself snapping, I try to regroup as quickly as possible, and genuinely apologise for the action. This can also signify to your loved ones that you are genuinely making an attempt to be better, no matter what your desired change is.
Making a change can be difficult, especially when it is something that you have seen and done for the majority of your life. The main thing is that, whatever it is, you stick with it. Change can be small and gradual, so don’t expect to be the person you envision overnight. With dedication, and keeping your reason for the change in mind, you can then change your life for the better.