Most people agree that improving ourselves is a good practice. We can always be more loving, healthy, wise, joyful, giving… But the problem comes in when we determine the reason for our  need to change.

We are consumers. It’s not a bad thing to consume, it’s how we were created. We take in our surroundings—what we listen to, watch, see, eat, and feel. We absorb like a sponge, form opinions adjust our lives and live it out, but often we forget to consider our motives.

When we think of improving ourselves, we know it’s a journey, and with all journeys we need to be patient. Which ironically, if you’re like me, is something you need to improve on. There are many reasons in which we decide to change. Here are the most common reasons that inspire us to improve ourselves.

Change for Approval.

Changing for approval is the most ineffective reason we change. Our new way of life often wanes and we slip back into our former habits. Temporary change occurs when our motives aren’t aligned with our heart. We may be trying to fit in a box that has been created by a group, club, culture or may even be perceived through lack of understanding.

We may perceive that others do not accept who we are in our current state and thus we feel the need to change to be accepted. We feel pressure to conform and change our identity just to “fit in”. This is the most common reason for change, but unfortunately, we continually fail. We find ourselves being fake, putting on a mask and often living opposite lives, while dying on the inside. We change without really wanting to.

There are many situations where this type of change is common. Here are a few examples:

  • Changing the way we look through diet, exercise, cosmetic surgery, botox injections, fake eyelashes, nails, hair, etc, just to be accepted by society.
  • Giving more, sacrificing more, going to church more, sinning less only to be approved by God, as if trying to convince an all-knowing being that we are something we are not.
  • Working harder, longer and brown-nosing, just to climb the corporate ladder.
  • Changing anything because we know we should, out of duty and without a change of heart.
    • Eating more fruits and vegetables, because it’s good for us.
    • Quitting a bad habit, because we know the side effects.
    • Volunteering more, because it’s the right thing to do.

Positive transformation is always good, but to make it permanent, we should always want it for the right reasons. If we are changing to fit in a box and be someone we are not, we have missed the point and need to realign our purpose.

You may never fit in the box! And who cares if you do? You are you. You are who you were created to be and the only reason you should want change is for the simple reason: to be a better you. That’s it!

You don’t have to change for culture, your spouse, kids, friends, family or boss. Do it for YOU! When you are determined to be the best version of YOU, everything around you falls into place.

Change out of Necessity.

Plato said, “Necessity is mother of invention”. Change is more effective when we are forced to find a solution in order to improve our circumstances.

A person who goes to the doctor’s office and receives a bad diagnosis, may alter their eating habits or introduce exercise in their daily activities. Unfortunately sometimes, once a good report is received by the doctor, old habits may settle back in.

A husband who is threatened by his wife leaving him, may change him, but it is often temporary.

An employee who is threatened of being fired for continually showing up late for work, will change most people, but without the heart change and proper motives, the employee may fall into a bad pattern again.

Being forced out of necessity isn’t the best catalyst, but if you are strong-willed, you may have more success. The most effective and permanent change comes from the inside out.

Change From Inspiration.

[quote align=’right’]By changing your mind, you change everything.[/quote]For lasting change, we need a change of heart. The biggest question is “Can we initiate a change of heart?”

A change of heart begins when we alter the course of our journey by changing our mind. As our course changes, we find that our heart also changes.

Changing our mind and the course of our journey is best done through knowledge and inspiration. Once we are presented with knowledge, inspiration is often sparked. Something inside of us questions and seeks for more. Our body may actually experience a physical “spark” with an increased level of dopamine and oxytocin. This starts the process of change. Change must happen in the mind before the heart. This reason is not always instant as our heart can take time to align.

Inspiration can come from many sources. Inspiration may come from listening to the lyrics of a new song, reading a quote, talking to a friend, or even meditating on something God has revealed to you. Sometimes it’s just a light bulb that comes on while you are driving in rush hour traffic. We can’t always initiate inspiration, but when it comes, run with it.

If you were inspired by this post, please share it with others. If you have questions or comments, post below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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The Author

Ryan Boutin

Ryan Boutin

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Ryan is driven by a passion to help people grow their business. As CEO of Zeal Media Inc, a web development and marketing firm located in Saskatoon, Canada, Ryan's mission is simple; Implement custom strategies to launch small businesses to drastic growth. With a vision to reach more people, InspireCast was born.

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