‘The Resilient Way’ to change, is to do something different. If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. You know this to be true, right? But still you keep on using the same methods and strategies!
Use Your Strengths
One of the best ways to get a different outcome to a problem is to use one of more of your strengths. If you haven’t already discovered what your top strengths are, consider completing the free online VIA questionnaire that has been completed by more than 7 million people worldwide. You may be failing because your approach is based on a skill that you lack or are weak in. Try using one of your top strengths instead and see how much more effective this can be.
A Different Look
If you are struggling to make a change in your habits or you feel that life is becoming stale and repetitive, try changing the things that you can change easily. For instance, how about changing your environment? Perhaps change the layout of a room at home, paint the wall a different colour, buy some plants to brighten up a space? Or change your appearance, wear bright colours, get a new haircut, change your style. It will remind you and others that change is happening even if some more important changes take longer to achieve.
A Different Routine
It’s easy to get stuck in the treadmill of everyday routines – get up, eat (the same) breakfast, go to work (the same route), repeat the same (predictable) role, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, get up repeat – ad nauseam. You may feel that you don’t have many choices, you have to work, you need to eat, but slight variations can make for different outcomes. Be adventurous! Maybe there are other things to eat at breakfast, different ways of travelling to work or different routes? Turn off the TV and turn to a hobby instead. Do something different. Is life boring or are you making boring choices?
One Extreme or the Other?
One reason we stick with boring routines and lifestyles is because they are easy. They require little thought or effort, so we can just amble along. Although this can be comforting it an also be stressful, our brains need stimulation and different challenges. The opposite, constant change and many choices can be stressful too. Ideally, we need to find a balance between familiarity and stimulation.
Leave the Comfort Zone
Every now and then we need to leave our ‘comfort zone’ and take ourselves into the less familiar, more challenging ‘stretch zone’. We may feel less secure and comfortable in this place but it can also feel exhilarating, exciting and fulfilling. The secret is to do just enough to feel the stretch before returning back to the safety of what we know best. Eventually, this will stretch the boundaries of what is a stretch for us and in this way, we grow and learn. This is The Resilient Way to develop new skills and talents to make change achievable and enjoyable.
Once I understood the principle of getting into the stretch zone, I became hooked on it. When you deliberately challenge yourself and allow yourself to feel discomfort there is something powerful about that experience. It really is The Resilient Way to grow and develop your character. First, you learn that nothing bad happens and it doesn’t matter if you fail because you can simply try again another time. Second, you learn that the next time you have to push yourself a little further in order to reach the stretch zone. Eventually, what you would have once thought was an impossible stretch becomes your new comfort zone! When I joined Toastmasters (the public speaking organisation) just turning up was a stretch for me. Gradually, stretch by stretch I got bolder and found things easier. Within a few months I went from speaking for 10 seconds (saying my name and a couple of words in the ‘warm up’) to speaking for 2 minutes in an impromptu ‘table topic’. Gradually I was able to deliver a number of rehearsed 10-minute speeches until eventually I became completely comfortable speaking in public to the extent that I now LOVE to do it!! Nowadays I am always seeking new ways to challenge myself mentally and physically and when I am forced out of my comfort zone by some unpredictable event, I can cope with it and consider it just another opportunity to grow.