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  • Writer's pictureAnge Puig, Ph.D.

JANUARY 2021 - Challenge of Change



"Challenge of Change"

So, 2021 has now arrived and so has the opportunity to make changes in our behavior to move us more towards a life which reflects and fuels our values.

What makes the changes in our behavior (large or small, invited or imposed, internal or external) so often daunting or elusive.

Meaningful change always involves a minimal amount of discomfort, lost and planning.

Sometimes our motivation is a critical element. Often we say to ourselves, "I have to get motivated.", so we wait for the motivation to arrive.

Two dictionary definitions for motivations are: (1) reason for acting in a particular way; or (2) willingness of someone to do something.

My choice would be to focus on one’s willingness. Being willing to engage in a specific action is a choice point on a fork in the road: To move toward change of path or retreat away/land into “old and familiar land”. Willingness is the choice to engage in a plan associated with change to reap the benefits. How do you choose the beneficial direction?

The story of directional choice goes like this: The Two Wolves is a Cherokee Indian legend and illustrates the most important battle of our lives - the one between our good and bad thoughts. Here is how the story goes now:

The Two Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorry, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

What change vs. directional path will you choose: “Towards vs. Away”?

If you expect change will be without discomfort - think again.

Take some time to weigh the loss/gain of the decision - write it out, sit with it, sleep on it.

What will be the cost vs. gain of either embracing upon change vs. stay where you are?

What will be the loss be either way?


1) Where are you on your change path?

The Stages of Change model was originally developed in the late 1970's and early 1980's by James Prochaska and Carol DiClemente. The model has been applied to a broad range of behaviors including weight loss, employment as well as overcoming alcohol and drug problems among other issues.

Stages are: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance, with yes “relapse”.

Remember - life nor change are linear as the saying about recovery from loss states.

2) Will engaging in this path take me toward the person who I value?

What are my values? (e.g., honesty, integrity, fun, frugality, compassion, etc.)

3) Am I honest and truthful with myself?

4) How can I “truth detect” with some level of reliability?

5) The more one’s behavior matches their own heartfelt values, the more achievable the quest.

I close with my last thought about embracing upon your change journey for 2021. Remember the old African proverb: “Before you get your sail, make sure you are not using someone’s star to navigate your voyage.”

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