April 19, 2011

A Hard-Ass Look at Change

A recent article was published in Psychology Today (a pop-culture yet research-based magazine) on the personal growth industry. According to this article, written by Jim Taylor, PhD., this industry boasts over $10 billion a year and isn't showing signs of weakness (personal or otherwise).

(For the full article click here  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201104/personal-growth-is-the-self-help-industry-fraud ...it's worth a quick read.)

The "self-help" movement is based upon the our desire to change. I was a huge proponent of self-help...myself when I was going through bad break ups and wanted to learn more about "how to avoid marrying a jerk" or "should I leave?" or "taking the next step 'cause the bridge will be there". My God, I have three book cases in my home office full of self-help books. You gotta a problem...I gotta book! I must have spent a year's salary on books, DVDs, and journals. It was interesting to me, however, that when I was happy, content, and drama free....I never picked up a book or wrote in my journal. It was the times of trouble I would reach for my little blankets of security. 

I still spend a small fortune on books. I just
changed my focus. This is a great look at
change from a business perspective vs.
a health psychology perspective.
 So if we want change so badly, why are we not changing? From weight loss, exercise, and kicking the habit, to relationship break ups, make ups, and finding that perfect person...there is a book for everything. If one book doesn't give us what we want, we buy the next. Do these books really help? Does Dr. Phil's hard-core approach to change work? Does Anthony Robbins motivate you to get off your ass and be the best you can be! They sure can motivate and make you feel good at the time, but if they do move you to change for good, you were ready from the beginning. It came from within you....it wasn't because of them.

Change is multifaceted and complex. Change takes time and patience. Above all, as the author of this article suggests, "...change takes incredible commitment, time, energy, and effort. Someone might be able to show you the way, but you have to make the journey yourself." There is a self-help guru born every minute and for every one, there are thousands of people who are willing to follow.  I believe we don't need the books, movies, or speakers to change we only need to clear a space on our calendars to dedicate to digging deep within ourselves and figuring out why we aren't happy and what we can do to get there.

Ya...it's a lot harder than it sounds and that's where the coaches, counselors, trainers, and experts do come in handy. They can ask you the questions to get you on the right path...but you have to make the time to do the work. That's much of the reason why we fail to change. Things get busy, the kids need a drive somewhere, American Idol is getting good, or work is overwhelming....there are many reasons (a.k.a. excuses) why we don't do it. That's what being human is all about. The hard stuff is uncomfortable (hence my own procrastination problem). Why do today, what you can put off until tomorrow!

The more I read the articles and speak to counsellors and psychologists alike, the more confident I become in the way I do business.  The only problem is.....my clients would rather read the book and try the latest diet than spend time within themselves and do the soul searching. However, those that do (although they may struggle, cry,  and hate me at times....) they manage to come out the other end clearer, committed, and happy they did the work. 

So the next time you are tempted to buy that book (unless it is mine...that's okay...kidding...sort of) or pay for that promising (beach body) fitness program take a moment to really ask yourself if you are truly ready, if you know what you really want and why, and what will you do to get there. If you can't answer those questions or you aren't really ready to give it 100% of yourself walk away and come back when you are. Your pocket book, time, family, and self-esteem will thank you for it.

Seriously, you know what to do...it's doing it that's the problem.


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