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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« One Interesting Way to Use Mindfulness to Focus Change | How to Use Quiet to Direct Your Fresh Start »

How to Prime the Pump to Make Great Change

We often set our intentions at the beginning of each year to make this year better. Some of us are still at the intention phase, while others have moved on to make “good” on our goals. Deciding to make changes whether that’s getting more organized, eating more healthfully, or switching careers, takes a lot of energy and motivation. Some changes are forced on us, but others, we choose to embrace. Deciding to do something different is the first step, but then there’s the actually doing or adopting of new habits. It’s your consistency of engaging new habits that will bring about your desired change.

Have you identified the change that you want? If so, that’s terrific! If not, stay open to the possibilities. If you’re ready for change, but can’t quite get activated to do something, I suggest trying out some of these pump priming strategies to help you move forward.


7 Pump Priming Strategies for Encouraging Change

1. Read – Find information that relates to the change you desire. One of my goals was to reestablish my daily mindfulness meditation practice. I primed my pump by reading lots of books that discuss the various aspects and benefits of mindfulness practice. Just reading the language readied me to engage in beginning again.


2. Write – Collect your thoughts around the changes you seek in a journal or other writing outlet. Doing this gears your mind in a forward moving way. It also can help you work through challenges around change and ways to encourage the cheerleader within. I used both my personal journal and public blog to help me commit to making a change. Writing can be a form of accountability.


3. Watch – If you have the opportunity to watch any programs or movies in your desired area of change that can also help. For example, I went to a movie, In Pursuit of Silence, which included a talk back with the director. Aside from it being a wonderful movie (go see it if you can,) it supported the value of integrating quiet into your life. This aligned beautifully with my goal to reestablish my mindfulness practice.


4. Review – Looking back on other times that you were engaged in positive habits or when you successfully made changes is a great way to prime your pump for change. Remembering that success breeds more success gets you ready and in the “I can” mode.


5. Search – Don’t underestimate the value of finding a community of like-minded people that value and understand the changes you seek. Investing time to find “your people” is a way of priming your pump. I recently attended an Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness retreat led by Amy Reyer, Ph.D. She shared many local mindfulness meditation resources including local meditation groups. Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., co-founder of Center for Mindful Living said that, “Human connection is the ultimate ‘x’ factor in creating a sustainable practice.”


6. Connect – Talking with others about the changes you seek and challenges you’re encountering can move you to act. It can be inspiring to talk with others that are pursuing similar changes. Supportive conversations are affirming and let you know that you’re not alone.


7. Learn – Signing up for courses that emphasize what you’re interested in changing is another great way to prime your pump. Sounds True recently sponsored a free 10-day online Mindfulness & Meditation Summit. It featured the top leaders and researchers in the mindfulness movement such as Sharon Salzberg, Kelly McGonigal, Daniel Goleman, Pema Chodron, Richard Davidson, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. After many hours of learning, it was impossible not to be excited about getting back to my practice.


These strategies do work. After a concentrated effort of pump priming, I have reestablished my daily mindfulness meditation practice. You can use these same strategies to bring about the change you seek.

What change are you ready for? What strategies help you to make the changes that you seek? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!






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Reader Comments (17)

I love that we are on the same page this week, Linda. Keep it moving - prime the pump! The idea of talking with others is surprisingly powerful. I'm in the process of putting together a "discussion group," co-led by a couple of other organizers, to talk about pursuing minimalism. Not to give assignments or necessarily instruct, but to simply give the idea breath and legs and life. When we involve others in our ideas, we infuse them with motivating energy. Should be fun to see how it unfolds, and what impacts it will have!

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- "Change" thoughts are in the air. I loved the piece you wrote about The Circle of Progress. Your new group sounds wonderful. I have to laugh because I read your comment on Sabrina's blog about organizing books. You mentioned that you don't have many you're well on your way with your minimalism pursuits. While I'd like to have less stuff in my life, I think I'm going to have a rough time with the book category. We have LOTS of books. But as I've learned from some of the minimalists, there is quite a variety of what that actually looks like. It's a very individualized thing. I wish you all the best with your new group. It sounds amazing!

February 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I totally agree with you that priming the pump will help you get through the downtimes.For me, talking with others about the changes and creating steps to create that change really help.
It gives me a vision of what I want to do and how to get me to that goal.

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

After being in business for many years, there were a number of frustrating issues that came up time and time again. I'd read articles and listen to webinars and got lots of tips, but they only helped a little bit. Then I discovered and signed up for a course that addressed all of them. It was expensive, but worth every penny. Those issues still arise occasionally, but I have a system for dealing with them so they don't sap me of energy and keep me from enjoying my work.

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Sabrina- I love hearing about how others prime their pump. You added another dimension to the "talking with others" aspect by adding in the "creating steps" factor. I love that! The conversation becomes more dynamic and action-oriented that way. Bravo!

February 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love this, Linda. So often people talk about the change they want to make but forget that they actually have to engage in different behaviors to make the changes they desire. For me, I like to decide on the change, think about the steps to take, write them down, take a breath and then dive in. Sometimes, I have to change my direction because what I thought I wanted to change wasn't quite right. I think it's all about finding your way and being open to different ways of being.

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Janet- You're so smart! I love how you recognized that pattern and didn't give up. And a good thing too because you found something that has helped. I love learning. Any time I attend a seminar, conference, workshop etc..., I'm always on the listen for that one nugget that will open up my thinking and help to enlighten or provide an opening for a solution to some challenge.

February 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Diane- You have a lovely process for embracing change. I especially love your last dive in" step. But perhaps the most beneficial part of your process is your willingness to be flexible if the change isn't "quite right." The ability to re-evaluate and adjust in the process is essential. Way to go, Diane!

February 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Continuous learning is SO important! I ran into someone at a conference who wasn't attending many sessions, and she said, "I've heard it all before," but I think if you pick up even one nugget, it's time well spent.

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

You broke the seven strategies down so well, I think anyone, despite a fear or lack of motivation could succeed after reading your post! Each strategy is a non-scary 'baby step' to move someone in the direction they wish to be going in. Congrats to you for following those seven strategies to get back to your daily mindful meditations. I hope they are bringing peace and joy to your life!

February 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

@Janet- I completely agree. There's always something to learn if you're on the look.

@Stacey- Wow! That's quite an endorsement. I'm so glad that you find the strategies valuable. You've identified the idea that change can be scary, but if we can figure out how to make the steps towards change tiny, it takes the fear away and makes the chance of success skyrocket. Thank you for your good wishes. I appreciate the support.

February 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks for this very thoughtful post which I found through Janet Barclay.
"In Pursuit of Silence" sounds fascinating and I'll enjoy checking out the other links you provided.
I manage a short meditation almost daily and paying attention to my thoughts has been a huge boost to my overall wellbeing.

February 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Wiles

@Pauline- Janet is wonderful! I'm so happy that she was our connector. If you have a chance to see the film, definitely go. It is truly remarkable. Kudos to you for pursuing your daily meditation practice. I vary the mindfulness meditations that I choose based on my mood and what the day will be like. This morning I practiced one of the thoughts and feelings meditations. I am with you about the practice being a boost to overall wellbeing. It's so lovely that you stopped by to share. Great to meet you!

February 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you for this inspirational piece Linda and for the important reminder that there is no one right way to prime the pump. Your post made me realize I tend to rely heavily on reading and writing when creating change. I recently launched my new blog and there I discuss all of the reading that I did as we contemplated a shift to a more minimal life style and how I used writing to process the shift / change.

Congratulations on reestablishing your practice! My current Mindfulness Based Strengths Practice course and Qigong class are providing me with the learning communities and connection I need to propel my practice forward. These communities remind me we’re all in this together and don’t have to take on change on our own. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for the inspiration!

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Oh, these are all such wonderful ideas, Linda! We often think that change has to occur with action (and it does!), but sometimes you need to pause and do very foundational things before you can take that action. I love these ideas to help you prime the pump. Great post!

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLiana George

@Andrea- It's so nice to "see" you here. I just came upon your new and inspiring post about all the changes and challenges you've been going through. And I checked out your new, beautiful website too. I love what you said about how creating community helps us provide support for the changes we want to make. I'm excited for you and how your new pursuits are coming together in so many beautiful ways. Wishing you all the best as you move ahead.

February 10, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Liana- Thanks so much.I appreciate that you stopped by to share. You make an important point. Change DOES require action. However, some of that "action" is more like "pre-action." Being intentional about the pre-part, can help us to more readily embrace change and take the steps needed to bring it about.

February 10, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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