Why it’s OK to want to change, but not do anything about it… yet

Is there some area of your life where you know you need to make a change, but you just… haven’t… done it yet?

Maybe you’ve been intending to lose that extra 10 pounds, start a newsletter for your business, finish your book, or do that scrapbook.

I bet you give yourself grief for not taking those steps. (You do, don’t you?) You might feel bad, criticize yourself (even in front of others), punish yourself subtly, or worse.

Stop it.

Right now.

Your intentions to change are actually great news, even without the action step! Congratulations, you!

Here is why. When we make change, we generally move through three phases. Wanting to change while not taking action is the second step. And any progress beyond the first phase should be applauded!

The three phases of change look like this:

Beginning Phase: Nothing is wrong with me. I don’t need to change. What are you staring at?

Middle Phase: Uh oh, I noticed something I would like to change in my life. Ugh. Wow. How long has this been here? Why didn’t someone tell me? Oh, you did? Ack, just how pervasive is it? Oh, wow. Let me soak this in and get used to the idea. Let me look at it from all angles. I really want to change this, but I’m not sure what I want instead.

Final Phase: I am ready to do something about this issue. In fact I am doing something! I am really excited to start a program this afternoon. I already have done the first three exercises in the workbook. I looked at a lot of options, and I do believe this is the one for me. I am committed to this change, and have created a reward system for myself. I am doing this for me, and will enjoy the outcome.

Tips for Surviving the Middle Phase of Change

Yes, it’s GREAT to want to change, even if you are not yet ready to do so. Here are five ways to make it easier to survive–and graduate from this phase.

1. Celebrate. If you know you want to make a change, but you aren’t doing anything, you are in the middle phase. It’s OK, in fact, it’s great! Congratulations! You made it out of being stuck! Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate your moving forward! And let go of all that guilt. Just because you had the idea does not mean you are ready to live it… yet.

2. Get Clarity. Discover exactly what you DO want to change. Often, it’s not what you think at first, when you first move into the Middle Phase. This phase is about clarification. You see what you want to fix or eliminate, but what do you want to replace it with?

Sometimes, your original goal (eg. lose 20 pounds) is just a hint at what you really want, and your real goal (love myself enough to find a romantic partner) is something different. Dig deep. Go on retreats, consult with proven intuitives, ponder and dig around until you identify the real dream at the core of your desire to change. Keep moving forward.

3. Look At Your Options. Look around for solutions, but don’t buy anything yet. Especially don’t buy something just because it came along–it might have come along as a form of resistance, not a godsend solution. Take a good look at its merits and costs. Try programs out first–almost everyone gives away a free recording or exercise or something to try. Are you ready to stick to a schedule and do the work?

4. Give Yourself Time. Right now, you are analyzing the situation–and it’s never as cut-and-dried as it seems. You need some time. Allow yourself to have it.

If you get antsy, set a date to decide what you will do about your desire to change. If you don’t have the information or if you are not fully connected to creating a solution, set another date and some things to do or learn before that date.

5. Get Help If You Get Stuck. Yes, it is possible to get stuck in the Middle Phase, stuck in your resistance and fears and doubts, not moving forward when you want to. Get help, bounce your fears off others, and while you are exploring your resistance, be kind to yourself.

We do not punish second graders for not knowing high school math. Second grade is a phase, a stepping stone. Enjoy it. What right do you have to be mean to any of God’s children, yourself included?

When you let go of the guilt, self-criticism, angst, and self-sabotage you are raining down upon yourself, you open up a lot of energy to constructive uses, including healing. You can progress more quickly through the Middle Phase of Change and reach your end goal. Then you can celebrate once again!

© 2012 Daria Boissonnas


Have you ever thought of change this way before? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!