It sometimes feels like at least 80 percent of the internet memes or quotes we encounter on social media urge us to embrace change — now. There is a simplistic satisfaction in such sentiment. But how helpful or accurate is it to imply that change is right there for the taking? This idea does not factor in two crucial doses of reality:

Change is possible but it depends on the desire to do so and sometimes circumstances can impede us.

The more important work involves discerning what is and isn’t realistic and doable.

Define “Change”

What exactly do we mean when we talking about changing ourselves?

This could be a contemplation of reimagining one’s personality. In other cases, we might be discussing lifestyle improvements such as diet, exercise, sleep habits, etc. Simply put, it does not suffice to ponder the likelihood of changing without breaking things down into different kinds of change. Surely, there is a vast difference between applying for a new job and trying to shift our emotional responses to stress.

All things considered, there are also countless external factors to consider. We live in a culture dominated by social hierarchies. Individuals and groups are consciously and subconsciously categorized by sex, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and more. These dynamics heavily impact what can and cannot be easily changed. Some issues are too large and too deeply embedded to be changed on our own.

What it comes down to are acknowledgment, acceptance, and understanding. What is and isn’t within our control? From there, we can focus our energy on adjusting what we are capable of adjusting and releasing the rest. That is when change is most definitely possible and more likely to last. This can be described as a personality shift.

How Do We Change Our Personality?

We can’t change our DNA. As a result, we are wired with some core personality traits.  On the other hand, what remains malleable are the unique belief systems we form over time. These are generally based on our unique environmental factors. Most importantly, this means we must address our self-beliefs. Here are four fundamental steps you can take in that direction:

1. Change Your Self-Belief About Change

There is one surefire way to guarantee you will not change. That is to believe you cannot change. Realistically assess your situation and your potential. From there, set reachable goals. As you hit short-term milestones, your self-beliefs about change will…well, change.

2. Identify Your Habits

Without knowing it, we can sabotage ourselves through our daily behavior. Habit can be learned and changed — over and over. By giving yourself a blunt appraisal of your habits, you can shift into a mindset of growth and exploration.

3. Accept Being a Work-in-Progress

Change is not a destination. Believing this will make it difficult to handle setbacks. Change is a never-ending process. Accepting this sets us off on a journey — totally aware that there will be inevitable ups and downs.

4. Envision How You Want To Be

You don’t have to fully change to live as if you have. Visualize your future self and begin living as that self would live. Again, there will be ups and downs but there will also be changes!

Does This Really Work?

A massive analysis of existing personality studies made some encouraging findings. People who underwent some kind of psychotherapy treatment displayed some interesting personality shifts. This demonstrated that treatment can facilitate sustainable changes. Therefore, while you do the daily work to implement the four steps listed above, you’d be well-served to talk with a therapist. By now, it should be clear. Change involves much more than clever memes and inspiring quotes. With realistic commitment and professional guidance, however, you create a personal evolution into a new and exciting direction.

A proven path towards change? Working routinely with a skilled professional.

Together we can practice valuable new skills. Moreover, you can obtain the guidance and confidence necessary to determine what is under your personal control. Read more here: Anxiety Treatment and contact me soon to begin working toward the peace you seek.