1. Sometimes our life circumstances mean we can’t get what we want.In this situation it is no use kidding ourselves. We need to feel our feelings and do what we can.

2. When we feel stuck it is usually because we have two competing desires.

We need to listen to both desires (it is usually feels like two parts of our selves).

If we choose one, whichever we choose, then we lose

(at least part of us is being (at best) ignored or (at worst) abused.

This can be incredibly intense. So, it is worth finding someone or some group that can support you through it. At the very least be aware that you can always ring Lifeline (and be happy to). Especially if it feels like you have been stuck for years it is probable that there will be very strong feelings involved.

3. Easy and small is fastest.

There are a lot of shoulds around changing. These are often of the ‘you have to work hard’, ‘you have to try to do what you don’t think you can’, ‘you should stretch yourself’ type of shoulds.

Perhaps this is true. In my observation it isn’t. For me the reply to these shoulds is: ‘Says who?’ or ‘Why should I (because you tell me to)?’

Even if these shoulds turn out to be true it is sensible

to see if there is an easy way first.

Once we find something that will make a difference and which we know we can do easily then we are very likely to do it. We don’t need to battle our fears or anxieties. It will probably even turn out to be enjoyable.

4. What makes an immediate difference and involves minimal change is likeliest to be done.

You may want to get fitter aerobically. You can either start by setting the goal of running a marathon, finding out the training regime and food required and the types of shoes that are best. Or, you can find a part of your day to go for a walk.

This is an exaggeration – but not much of one. And you can still move on to the training for the marathon. My point is that the easiest is most likely to happen.

5. The best measure is joy.

Joy seems to me a good way of saying what life is. The more life the more joy. If we use other measures (success, others responses) these are likely to focus more on others. Joy lets us focus on what we can do but doesn’t stop us looking at our situation. Some situations are worse than others, it is easier in some situations to feel joy.

By joy I don’t mean just momentary pleasure (though the more moments of pleasure the better). Joy means the sense that all of us is doing what we are doing. This can even mean quite strenuous and demanding activity. There is a joy in mastery and excelling.

In a nutshell (or five nutshells) this is what I know about how we change. It is quite different to the usual ideas promoted so I invite you to try out this way and see what results you get. I’d love to hear your experience.

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