Forget Change: What You Need Is a Transformation
By SHAWN MCINTYRE
As people grow older, it's not uncommon to hear them say, "It's time for a change" every now and again. They're dissatisfied with something, but whether or not they can actually pinpoint the issue, they know that some sort of change has to take place to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
But when people talk about making a "change," they often don't realize that a mere change isn't enough. What they really need is a transformation.
To some, these words are interchangeable, but they're really quite different. Consider a house, for example. When you "change" a house, it might mean something like slapping on a new coat of paint or installing a bay window. It's an aesthetic alteration.
Now, imagine that you take the same house and knock out all of the interior walls to create new spaces. You yank out the wiring and plumbing to install high-quality systems. You tack on new flooring, convert the basement into a rumpus room and put a hot tub on the back porch.
This was no measly change: It's not the same house it was before. Of course, the foundation and framework are still there, but it's been altered in a way that fundamentally shifts how it functions and how it's used. And sometimes this is the sort of transformation that each of us desperately needs, whether that's in terms of our bodies, our relationships or our careers.
Recognize the Need for Transformation
While some people might want to transform their lives, it's not always easy to admit it. Instead, they make changes as temporary solutions to things that might be better solved through a transformation. It's their way of recognizing what they want and addressing it, but not really doing anything about it.
Let's say, for example, that you want to grow your career, so you buy a fancy new outfit. You tell yourself that your new outfit is your ticket to catching the boss's attention. Boy, will things take off from there! Then nothing happens. That's because you're still the same person doing the same things. The only difference is that you look a little different. In reality, your career isn't going to benefit until you fundamentally transform your habits.
There are three signs that you're ready for a transformation:
Boredom: When the excitement is gone, boredom is your soul's way of telling you that it's time for a transformation.
Complaining: If you find yourself complaining all the time, it's indicative of a larger issue, especially if you notice that you're complaining about others and yourself.
Perfectionism:Many people are unable to live the best life possible because they're too busy trying to perfect the level they're currently at. Perfectionists always have an excuse. You might hear a perfectionist say something like, "I'll take the next step once conditions are just right" or "once I have more time" or "when I'm properly prepared." Perfectionists stick to their excuses, even if it means waiting forever.
Transform Your Body and Life
Once you're aware of these signs, you can take steps to start the transformation process. When it comes to transformation, a lot of people think about their fitness first. This makes perfect sense, as a healthy and fit body is an essential platform for succeeding at the rest of your goals.
Here are three strategies you can use in this process:
Intensity: A high-intensity fitness routine injects a whole new level of focus, energy and desire into your exercise goals. Not only will a high-intensity mind-set affect how you pursue fitness, but it will also bleed over into other aspects of your life, such as your career.
Repetition:We're all creatures of habit, and we often repeat the bad habits we've learned unknowingly. To transform your habits, you have to use repetition to overwhelm your current routine.
Support: Transformation often means placing yourself in an uncomfortable environment, and whether you're striving to transform your fitness, career or relationship, having a coach, mentor or counselor can make all the difference. Think of it this way: The right coach knows the territory that you find unfamiliar, and he can serve as a great guide when it comes to finding the path to success.
Transformation can be an emotional and spiritual struggle, even when it's just physical. But if you're really serious, you have to let go of your attachments and be open to change. You have to be willing to admit when you don't know something and be open to the answer. And lastly, you have to give yourself the permission to be happy, even when the people around you are struggling.
A lot of people wonder how they'll know if they've transformed. But believe me, it will be obvious to both you and the people around you. At first, you might feel the same while everything around you seems different. The people you're working with are new, and you find yourself in new surroundings. People seem to act differently toward you, as if they've changed. And, in a way, they have -- in response to how the relationship you share has transformed.
Transformation is about an interior change, and once it happens, the people and events of your previous life will no longer exist. They've changed because your internal perception of them has changed, and you begin to recognize new strategies and perceptions pertaining to them. You'll find that you have a higher level of clarity about life, love, fitness, business and responsibility. You may even uncover an increased hunger for growth and transformation. These are good signs -- indicators that you've experienced a genuine transformation.
Readers -- Have you ever felt like you needed to change something in your life, but you just couldn't figure out what it was? What steps did you take to make real transformations? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Shawn T. McIntyre is the CEO and founder of Shawn T. McIntyre Fitness and the fitness program The Workout of Your Life. Shawn is an international cover model, a pro fitness model and a published author. He offers online and private training and leads speaking and workshop engagements.