6 Ways to Make Real Change HappenWe want to change! We really do! This time, we are going to finally do something adventurous with our lives. We are determined to finish that novel, start that exercise regimen, travel to New Zealand, or stop the relentless voices in our head saying, “You can’t succeed” or “Who do you think you are?”

We are ready. We consider how to develop new plotlines, better scenes, and juicier relationships. We are open to joy. We embrace the belief that we are good enough. Yes, we are ready for real change.

Now what? We need simple cognitive processes that will generate real, lasting change. Here are 6 powerful ways to get there:

1. Let go. Use meditation to observe and let go of the ways you have been conditioned that no longer serve you. The great poet Walt Whitman reminds us:

Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

2. Be in the now. Say to yourself, “I am excited to write my novel,” rather than, “I want to complete a novel.” Want implies lack. The subtle shift from future wishing to present enthusiasm carries weight with our subconscious mind. When you conjure a positive emotional response in your body from influential I am thoughts, productive actions follow!

3. Say maybe. We know the place we find ourselves in today results from our thinking patterns. We are aware that if we want to change our situation, we must first rewire our minds with new thoughts. Sometimes, when stubborn thoughts persist, I use the gentle response, “Maybe”—which tends not to elicit the mental pushback that gets me hooked into the old thought pattern. When we hear an old program in our head like, “You know it’s too late for you to become an actor!” saying, “Well, maybe” can defuse the insistent thought and open the door to other views.

4. Learn new things. Every time we learn something new, we change our physical brains by forging new synaptic connections. And by training the brain to function differently, we physically change our minds. Once, my chess-playing, college-age son was coming home for a holiday break and I wanted to be able to play a game with him that lasted beyond five moves. I had thought of myself as a creative type, not wired for chess. But I also understood the way I could rewire new neural networks, so I spent months learning the game’s strategies and tactics. When my son arrived, he was happily surprised to have a new, challenging chess opponent. This gave me the confidence to rewire my brain to achieve other goals, too.

5. Make small changes first. When you’re planning an intimidating major life change, such as moving to a new city, starting a new job or career, or leaving an unfulfilling relationship, you can prepare yourself with an immersion in small changes each day. You might switch up a favorite old coffee cup for a new one, sit in a different chair for meals, or rearrange the furniture. These new low-impact experiences signal that things—that you—are changing. Your comfort with the change grows, reducing anxiety and allowing you to enjoy how prepared you feel and the excitement of the big changes when they begin.

6. Say yes! Discard the old conditioning. Rewire your mind and create your life exactly as you want it. Notice the universe open up and rain with blessings and synchronicities. Notice the new sense of clarity you feel. Enjoy the expanded awareness of the upgraded option menu that big internal change provides. You will hear a clear new song in your heart, a song of confidence and the sweet knowledge that if you ever need to, you can change. When you hear that song, say “yes!”

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