The following was presented February 20, 2024, by Education Officer Joe West.

Mastering the Art of Change

- RW Chad M. Lacek, PM of Dundee #190 Carpentersville, IL
Emessay Notes, January 2024
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions last month? By now you’ve had a chance to test their permanence. How’s it going so far? Are you hanging in there, or have you already abandoned some of them?
Don’t feel too bad. Change is hard. In fact, lasting change is almost impossible, unless you apply it the right way. Most people try to use an act of willpower to resist the behaviors they are trying to eliminate, or to add the habits they wish to begin. You can visualize what is happening in this case by imagining a powerful magnet, pulling you in the direction of what you are trying to avoid, and pushing you away from where you want to be. This invisible force is always there. It’s always pulling and pushing, constantly, relentlessly. To achieve your goals you will have to fight it every second, every day, forever. That’s asking a lot of our poor willpower.
Let’s consider an example of a man who wants to lose a few pounds. We all know the many benefits of maintaining a healthy body weight. It’s a worthy goal. One major component of his weight loss will be decided by the foods he eats. Every time he passes that box of doughnuts someone brought to the Lodge meeting, he must resist the desire to eat one if he hopes to achieve his goal. The problem is that he has to fight that desire, and win, every time. Just like water that wears away at solid rock, so too will that doughnut eventually end up in his stomach.
So how do we make lasting changes? First, we must admit that wanting something and denying it to ourselves is not a long-term solution. The secret to success is to work towards not wanting it in the first place. We can achieve this by reshaping our identity. “I want to lose a few pounds” becomes, “I’m the kind of person that enjoys keeping fit.”
This works with anything you wish to start doing, or something you want to eliminate. “I want to write a book” becomes, “I’m the kind of person that writes every day.” “I want to pay off my debts” becomes, “I’m the kind of person who lives debt free and within my means.”
I know what you’re thinking. It’s easier said than done, right? Yes, But no. Every action we take is really a vote for the kind of person we want to be. At first you will need to tell yourself what kind of person you are.
After a while you will start to believe it. Eventually you will become it.
You might be surprised how much faith you have in your own voice, and how much your opinion of yourself matters. If you find yourself saying things like, “I’m terrible with names” or, “My memory is awful”, your subconscious will believe you.
Start telling yourself that you are the kind of person you want to be.
You will be amazed how quickly you can transform your will, without the need for willpower. For a step by step, simple, practical guide to implementing this practice in your life, I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear Please trust me. You won’t regret it. With a little practice and persistence, you will master the art of change.