Creating Meaningful Personal Change: Use Smart-Steps “STOP. Reflect. Challenge.”

I was reflecting the other day on how people go about complaining and sleep walking through life. I decided if  you are a committed and determined to change a specific behavior or situation in your life, it is important to remember that the quality of your life has nothing to do with excuses, unresolved conflicts, or  dreaming. It has everything to do with the HERE AND NOW–YOU. YOUR ESSENCE AND PASSION FOR LIVING A MEANINGFUL, CONTROLLABLE and CONSTRUCTIVE LIFE. It has to do with your thinking, reflection, choice, behavior, and impact–The pressing questions: What do you want to change and how do you go about sustaining that change? How to start talking with others about what you care about and want you want to do to start living a life that can make a difference?l

Tips to Help Sustain Personal Change

1.  Affirm your ability to continue personal change and develop a no excuses focus by repeating this  affirmation: “Focus on living well regardless of how you are feeling at the moment.”  And complete the following Reflection Activity Daily:

  • Pick one action that you want to change—for example, your physical health–running or walking, eating healthy foods, self-improvement through meditation, stop smoking or reduce drinking alcohol, etc.) Chose a set time of the day and do the activity at the same time each day for one week. Record the day, time, activity and your reflections in your daily journal.

2. Focus on positive behavior and ignore self-sabotaging thinking and ideas with clear and specific change goals that are challenging but not too difficult to complete. I call this the Constructive Living Smart-Step Change process. It is all about establishing a clear and meaningful purpose, being focused on positive self-talk and developing realistic habits, and execution plans.

  • Smart-Steps are more manageable in developing positive behavior changes then a more general or holistic approach. Smart-Steps allow you to focus on behavior and the process instead of judging performance (based on fears, false expectations and results). For example, change process goals help you focus on being in the moment and responding in a responsive way to align actions with goals. Smart-steps facilitate the development of energy into positive enthusiasm for change. Here are some essential components of the


  • Smart-Step Change Process as applied to  “Personal Change Resolutions:
  • · Clarify and agree to reasonable change goal. Start by making goal realistic, understandable, doable and measurable.
  • Monitor and Edit yourself in positive ways. Sincerely try to set and meet realistic goals. Set one’s that challenge and stretch but don’t overwhelm you. Do not try to change everything at one time; review and reassess goals to keep them realistic and incorporate lessons learned from setbacks or failures. Try to understand setbacks and overcome obstacles to change.
  • Soften your “criticism.” of self . Do not quit if you feel overwhelmed. Practice this technique– STOP. Reflect. Challenge your thinking. Move on through positive action.
  • Ask for and accept support and advice from others. A presentation succeeds to the extent that you do not feel alone in tackling a difficult personal change. Be responsive friends and family members comments or concerns. Be open and flexible to suggestions from others feedback in trying to keep momentum for change alive.
  • Have high standards. Have high standards and don’t expect perfection. Things may go wrong. Be ready to go with the flow.
  • Focus on the optimistic “POV” and Self-Talk. Try to understand and apply your strengths and abilities to the change process. People who succeed on changing  behavior permanently make at least five times as many positive statements to themselves about progress than negative statements or excuses.

Once you understand the Smart-Step process you are on the road to significant personal change.  Specific change goals replace other people’s expectations and help you focus on what is really an important priority in your life. Being and living in the moment is critical to developing confidence. It means learning to trust and believe in your ability to accept the challenge. Developing this change posture means that you must accept more vulnerability and at risk. Trust is directly related to your ability to be open and is experienced as authenticity by others. Good Luck on your change goals and share your success stories with us in the coming year Monitor and Edit yourself in positive ways. Sincerely try to set and meet realistic goals. Do not make the mistake of taking the importance of communication for granted  – communication matters. Put simply, the ability to effectively communicate with others is often the difference between success and failure. Don’t be fooled into thinking your title, education, influence, or charisma can take the place of sound communication skills. While the aforementioned characteristics certainly won’t hurt, they can be quickly eroded and/or undermined by making poor choices in the words you use.

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