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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« What's Your Next Step? | Checking-in On Change »

5 Compelling Reasons to Change

No matter how convincing my list of 5 Compelling Reasons to Change is, I know that it’s not my reasons that matter. The five I’m sharing with you are just a few in a long line of possible motivations for change. I’d love to find out what motivates you to make changes in your life. With your help, perhaps we can turn this list into 100+ Compelling Reasons to Change.

1. Pain

 As Anaïs Nin said, “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Consider how much energy it takes to continue with the familiar. Is the pain and frustration you’re experiencing worth not changing?


2. Fear

We are all scared of something whether it’s spiders or public speaking or embracing change. Just because we’re afraid, it doesn’t mean that we can’t overcome our fears. By doing so we can experience tremendous growth, elation and increased self-confidence.


3. Desire

Motivation doesn’t have to be negative. The drivers can stem from deep yearning and passion. Change can occur when the desire for a specific result or goal is so vivid and intense that it’s almost impossible to hold yourself back from taking action. That passion can propel us forward with intensity. Allow it to be your guide.


4. Love

People don’t change until they’re ready. Sometimes, though, our motivations can come from the desire to change for someone we love. When our habits work for us, but not so well for the special people in our lives, this creates a lot of tension. Changing in order to make our relationships stronger, less stressful and more loving is another big motivator for change.


5. Opportunity           

Elsye Sommer said, “Sometimes opportunity knocks like a loud windburst; more often it arrives like a burglar and disappears before you realize it was there.” Life is not dull. On a daily basis, there are many decisions to make and possibilities to consider. These options can be enticing enough to lead you towards change. With an open attitude, opportunity can be the motivator.

Do any of these ideas resonate with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about reasons to change. Participate in the conversation.





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Reader Comments (12)

I think you really covered all the bases. People have to have a strong emotion to make real change. Changing for someone else (love) I think does not even have as strong of a motivating factor because it's not your own reason... those people are really changing out of fear of losing the one they love... which goes back to fear.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

Most of my clients tap into the DESIRE to change. A hoarder made the decision to move to California, where her home would be half the size of her exisiting home. It propelled her forward in making decisions, eliminating and moving forward. It is a compelling desire, one that means more than can be imagined from those of us on the outside looking in, that makes changes happen.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Great points. This is not necessarily related to decluttering or letting things go, but an individual may be motivated to change because of a health reason or diagnosis. If their recent lifestyle has been detrimental to their health, then they may feel motivated to make some changes, e.g. exercise, healthier eating, reducing stress, etc.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacquie Ross, CTC

You all make such wise and wonderful observations. I appreciate your dialogue and willingness to share. It's certainly true that emotions play a very strong part in change. In addition, some motivating factors probably are stronger pulls than others. As you pointed out, Ellen, desire is an huge one.

I also love your point, Jacquie about change being brought about because of a health challenges In a fact sheet I wrote for ICD called "Readiness for Change (," I write about "Life Jolts." These are the big things that happen like death, birth, divorce, illness, marriage, etc... that shake up our "normal" lives. They often can be the catalyst for change.

February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Change is scary for most of us. Being comfortable with the familiar can seem easier than moving forward with life. Your analogy of the budding flower is excellent. I tell my clients as they look at their goals they should look at the cost of attainment and benefits of attainment of those goals. We hear that a lot in goal setting dialog, but I also encourage them to look at the cost of non-attainment and benefits of non-attainment. When you look at both sides of the coin, it becomes easier to believe in (or debunk) the change you want to make.

You have listed some excellent reasons to change. I think that sometimes people need to step back and really evaluate the changes they are considering and how many they are attempting at once. I find that many of my clients, when I first start working with them, have created goals for change that they don't really believe in. Maybe they have had someone tell them they should do something. Or maybe they have read an article or blog post that tells them they should do something for their business. Before they know it, their list of "I must change this" has grown out of proportion. For lasting change, you need to believe in the change you are making. Then, prioritize that list and work on a few at a time.

For example, in the past 2 years I have made humongous changes in my eating and sleeping patterns. I'm now cooking most things from scratch and a lot of our food is organic and very very little is processed. I have been told for years that organic cooking is better for me. But, somewhere deep down, the cost of cooking from scratch was larger than the perceived benefits I might get. So, I did not change. Over time, my health dwindled and I got into a very scary spot. That scary spot drove me to work with a specialist who helped me figure out that I had many allergies to food. Good food I was eating, my body interpreted as poison. As a result, the food I was eating was not giving me nutrition and my body was literally shutting down. NOW I had stronger motivation to figure out how to cook from scratch and shop organically and make it fit into our lifestyle. The Return on Investment (ROI) equation changed.

If you are struggling with change, it is time to evaluate the validity of what you say you want to change vs what deep down you really want to do. There is a big difference. Once you have completed that exercise you'll have a better feel for where you should place your energy and a renewed sense of focus to get the important things done!

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie LH Calahan

Stephanie- Thank you for taking the time to share such wisdom about change. I love your point about not overwhelming yourself with too many changes at once. That's so important and not always possible, but certainly preferable. The changes you've made in your life and how you thought about and did them are inspiring. Thank you again for sharing.

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I am horrible with change and unfortunately right before Christmas my mom died and of course that has caused a huge change. I think the sadness is making it hard for me to do the things I know I need to do. On the other hand having two children depend on you and look to you for how they should feel has really made me push forward. I think an important reason to change is to make a bad situation, at least in part into a positive. Obviously my mom dying is in no way positive but we have to move forward and either way it is going to be a change so why not have some of the changes be good happy ones. So I guess my motivation for change was being forced into it but I don't think it is all bad, it is certainly making me stronger every day!

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon J.

Shannon- I am so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing and the sadness you are experiencing. I can imagine how hard it’s been to grieve while taking care of your children. In your voice, I hear an incredible strength.

You said that you have always found change to be difficult. I identify with that. Sometimes we embrace change, but particularly when it happens to us without our permission or desire, it’s especially hard. Change that happens through loss of our loved ones is never easy. It takes time to heal, but we never forget.

Thank you for sharing. I applaud you for allowing yourself the space to grieve, the ability to seek out the positive and courage to develop your strengths.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I think you pretty much nailed it and the comments are great!
When you say compelling reasons to change, I think of the fact that life is ever-changing. Therefore we must constantly be adaptable to change. What motivates me is the fear of what I might miss if I don't take the risk to change." Leap and the net will appear"(~John Burroughs).
I think, however, I had to learn that. I too have had a really tough and soul searching year.
I'm reminded of the2nd line in the Serenity Prayer-the courage to change the things I can..."
Thanks for starting this inspiring and thought provoking discussion!

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmye Gumbinner

Amye- Thank you for sharing your thoughts and contributing to the conversation. I love your Burroughs quote, "Leap and the net will appear." Embracing change requires us to step out of our comfort zone and have faith in the unknown. Risk and fear are also part of the change equation.

It sounds like you've had challenges this year but that your inner strength and positive attitude has helped you through. Let the net always be there for you.

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Financial necessity is often a factor leading to change. If someone who is living paycheck-to-paycheck loses their job, they will probably have to sell their home and/or make other huge lifestyle changes.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Thank you for bringing the financial aspect to the conversation, Janet. In today's economy, what you're describing is an all too common occurrence. Loss of job can have a snowball effect on a family bringing about many changes including a total change in how and where they are living.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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