Self-improvement. Call it personal development, personal growth, spiritual practice, transformation, or enlightenment—it doesn’t matter. If you want to become your best self, you’ve got to work at it. No matter how many courses you take, books you read, or guru’s feet you sit at, it only works if you work it.
What is “it”? The tool.
The tool could be a diet, an exercise routine, a mindset, or a routine. It could be a strategy or a skill. “It” is whatever you believe will help you create some sort of change in your life.
You can find a plethora of tools that can help you step into your best self or find your connection to spirit—or any number of other desired results. But if you don’t put them into daily use, you won’t experience the change you want.
Knowledge Isn’t Enough
I see this over and over. People attend a workshop or read a new book—maybe they even get a coach, and get excited about the possibilities open to them…if they use the information, strategies, and frameworks provided. They think the knowledge is enough…enough to change them. They believe knowledge results in transformation.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Knowledge helps little if you don’t take action on it. You have to put the knowledge to use by doing the work necessary for change to occur. You have to take some sort of new and consistent action.
When I meet with a new Certified High Performance Coaching client, I tell them, “You will get out of this program as much as you put into it.” Will they receive knowledge, tools, awareness, and even new ways of doing things? Of course! Will that fact result in transformation if they do nothing with them? Of course not.
Knowledge is not enough to create change. Change takes work.
Change is a Process
And change takes time. You’ve probably heard it said that transformation is a process. Indeed, it is. And too many people give up before they achieve the change they desire.
I know someone who was involved in metaphysics for a long time. This person believed in the Law of Attraction, a Universal Power, and affirmations and positive thinking. Over the years, he’d pick up one tool or a bit of information and put it to use for a little while. But he saw no results.
Finally, after a series of adverse events, he decided none of what he had learned—none of the tools he had acquired—worked. The Law of Attraction was a bunch of woo-woo hooey, there was no Universal Power, and affirmations and positive thinking were a waste of time.
The problem wasn’t that none of these tools worked. The problem was he didn’t work them—at least not for long enough to see results. So he gave up.
I can’t say I’ve ever given up or stopped believing in the tools I’ve found and tried. I am well aware, though, that when they don’t work, it’s because I don’t work them consistently enough. And this goes for the Law of Attraction and affirmations as much as it does for developing a morning routine or sticking to a daily schedule of blocked time.
If I want to change, I have to work at it. And I have to do so for more than a few days or weeks. I have to be patient and consistent with the process over the long term.
What Work Do You Need to Do?
Think about the changes you’d like to make or have tried to make in your life. What tools have you acquired and not used consistently over the long term?
Make a list of both the changes and the tools you have now. And track the results you get over time. That means you also need to know how long you have consistently used the tool. You can use the chart below to do so.
If you find a tool is not producing results after six months, consider choosing a new one. However, don’t negate the possibility that you are not using it correctly. You may need more instruction on how to use it effectively, so you realize results. If you get this, then give yourself another six months or so to work it…again. Maybe the results will be different.
Don’t feel like you’re all alone in this endeavor! I’ll be there with you. I’ve got many tools I don’t use consistently enough. And I’ve got habits I’d like to solidify. The only way that will happen is if I practice new ways of behaving and showing up daily–and work my tools! Like anyone else, I need not do this not for one day but for many, many days.
Consider choosing a tool and working it for a year. Make this the year you focus on a morning routine, improving your diet, meditating, going to church, or expressing gratitude and appreciation—daily. I know there are only four months left until the year is over, but you can create a lot of transformation in that time.
Just remember: Whatever tools you try only work if you use them.
What tools have you used consistently, and what results did you achieve? Tell me in a comment below.
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Photo courtesy of frank mckenna/unsplash.com.