What Do You Want to Change vs. What Do You Want to Do

Joyce Shafer

Joyce L. Shafer

We hear that “Change is a constant” and “People resist change.” What a conundrum we find ourselves in because of this clash.

We tend to approach what we want for ourselves and our lives by looking at what we want to change. Considering that many of us react to or resist change, maybe that’s not the better or best approach to aim at a targeted outcome. What if focus on what we want to change is a form of looking backward instead of forward? Attention on what we want to change, it seems, may not lend itself to being as supportive to us as we might like or need.

When we look at what we want to change, we’re focused on what is rather than on what could be. What-is generally doesn’t stand alone, because it’s often difficult to look at what-is without being aware of whatever from the past is attached to it. You can be at peace with what-is, which is far more beneficial than resisting it. Resistance holds you back from what can be. There is a way to move forward from what-is, and I’ll get to that in a bit.

The idea of changing something about ourselves or our life, by deliberate choice or by default, also carries a mental-emotional imprint of work, effort, perhaps even sacrifice. Our ego-aspect doesn’t like this. This perspective usually does not lead to lasting success or fulfillment of desired experiences or outcomes—because we resist change. Instead, ask yourself what it is you want to do. This question has the potential to open your imagination, reveal your unspoken wishes, and aim your focus out ahead of you.

There are times when I ask clients and others what it is that they want to do. Some know; other says they have no idea. I think the latter response comes from not having allowed their imagination to play, or maybe not having allowed themselves to imagine life beyond their responsibilities—or fears. When someone gives “I don’t know” as an answer, I ask, “If you did know, what might your answer be?” This is an excellent question because the mind likes to answer questions given to it; it likes to fill in the blanks. It’s also a form of permission to explore possibilities from the mental and emotional perspectives.

The statement, “Something has to change,” whether this is about us, another, or a situation, can have an energy of helplessness attached to it. After all, what can we really change that has happened, is happening, or about another who is the only one with the power to change themselves?

“What do I want to do,” however, leads you forward to “What can I do,” which leads you to “What can I do that I will do,” which is an empowering question. It’s a question that opens your creative mind to explore your strengths, talents, resources, intentions, and commitments.

Do you want to change your physical form or state, or do you want to be healthy and fit? Do you want to change your financial situation, or do you want financial serenity? See how these questions are played with and turned in your favor? The first part (before the “or”) brings up all sorts of things you’d “have” to do, whereas the second part focuses and holds your attention on what you desire as your experience and outcome. The second part is also open to interpretation about what is appropriate for you.

The question “What can I do that I will do” can assist you in any situation, mild or severe. As I said, there are some situations that you cannot change; and this can cause your ego-aspect to feel disempowered. But, “What can I do that I will do,” restores personal power. You can then be constructive, creative, and/or collaborative.

Next time you hear your ego-aspect expressing a desire or need for something or someone to change, ask what it is that you can do that you will do, and let positive possibilities open to you. It’s a good practice; one you’ll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer

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Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles and free downloads. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at http://stateofappreciation.weebly.com


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