“Change is not something you do, it’s something you allow.” – Will Garcia When we awakened today, what was the first thing on our mind? What got us up and out of bed and eager to take up today’s challenges? Or, did we awake with a feeling of dread, or worse, nothingness? While we cannot know how we’re going to feel when we first open our eyes, we can mentally prepare ourselves for what will come. How? Let’s look at this for a minute. The way to give our subconscious something to think about is to put the idea into play that whatever tomorrow brings, we will meet it with the best of our efforts. We will allow ourselves the opportunity to learn from our past mistakes and to benefit from the changes that we also allow ourselves to make. For it is with our giving ourselves permission to change that we actually do change. Do we think this is somewhat of a riddle? It really isn’t all that complicated and here’s why. We make a decision and follow through on it for various reasons. The strongest reason is that we are motivated to make a change because we believe that our actions will help bring forth a reality that we are planning for or desire. We don’t make changes because we’re forced to. While we can be intimidated by others or threatened with some sort of sanction or punishment, such as court-ordered treatment, real change only occurs when we give ourselves permission to change – and then follow through on the hard work that’s required. Yes, change involves hard work. It doesn’t come easily. It also requires some thought on our part, other than just saying to ourselves, “Okay, today I’ll change my behavior and do this, or not do that, or investigate what it takes to get my next recovery goal underway.” We do have to have this sort of mental pep talk, but we also have to take the appropriate time to flesh out our plans and make revisions where necessary. Maybe we don’t have all the information we need in order to get going with our plan of action – yet. Our first step should be to figure out where to obtain the information, find experts, do the research, and accumulate the facts. Then, it may be appropriate to strategize the best way to approach the element of change we want to undertake. Now is another great time for a boost of self-confidence. We need to give ourselves permission to go ahead, despite any setbacks or minor alterations of plan we may encounter along the way. Change isn’t something that is static. We are constantly learning and, therefore, constantly changing. We need to recognize this and accept it as part of our reality. No, we won’t always get it right the first time. That doesn’t mean that what we’re trying to change about ourselves or our behavior is not worth it. Far from it, in fact. Sometimes the most difficult challenges are the ones that we need the greatest time to overcome. We have to get past our own preconceived ideas, self-imposed impediments and even laziness or unwillingness to tackle the hard work that’s needed on our part before we can succeed and accomplish the change we want. If the concept of allowing ourselves to change before we can, in fact, change seems a little strange still, just give it a chance. Don’t think too much about the concept. Just whisper to ourselves or have the thought that we will allow ourselves to learn and grow today. That gives us permission to change, and sometimes permission is all we need to get up off the chair and start moving in the direction we want to go. The other benefit of starting small is that the more we allow ourselves to change, the easier it is to change and the more we’re able to change.