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A Leopard Doesn't Change His Spots: Do People Change?

A Chinese proverb says, “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” Today’s choices impact tomorrow’s experiences. If you expect to have a different experience tomorrow, you need to change, and you must believe that change is possible.

One of the most terrifying aspects of life is recognizing that everything changes. A leopard does not change his spots, but that is because he was born to be a leopard. You were born to do certain things, and you can only achieve them if you allow yourself to change into the person you are meant to become.

The idea that people do not change is not a new concept, but it is one that has been disproven time and time again. The key thing to remember about that concept is that you cannot make people change; they must want to change for themselves. Although, you will notice that people do change. In fact, people are constantly changing.

Every year at New Year’s, people make goals for behavior change. Multiple times throughout the year, people make goals for change. If change were not possible, people would not keep trying to improve themselves.

Believe You Are Capable of Change

The key part of any change is buy-in. The critical question you must ask is, “Are you ready to change?” Your readiness to change will impact whether or not change actually occurs. When you have identified your readiness to change, you begin making small steps and believing that you can change. With each small step, you convince yourself you are capable of change, and the next step seems even easier.

In treatment, you begin the process of change by questioning whether or not a change was even possible. You have spent years, maybe decades, struggling with trauma, mental health conditions, and addiction to drugs, alcohol, or unhealthy behaviors. You have lived in frustration and pain for so long that you have begun to see it as a fact of life. When you entered treatment, you were hopeful but still questioned if change was possible.

Yes, Change Is Possible

You can overcome trauma and triumph over mental health diagnoses and addictions. You can survive and even thrive. Before you buy into the idea that change is not possible, think about people who have overcome their struggles. They were in pain and struggling and barely making it, and then they decided to make a change and set goals to achieve those changes. They did not like their lives, and then they changed their lives.

Three Attributes of An Attitude for Change

So, yes, change is possible, but it takes dedication, accountability, and a willingness to problem-solve. You have to develop an attitude for change and a desire to keep changing even when it is challenging.

#1. Change Requires Dedication

Growth does not occur in comfort; the same is true of change. Sitting and watching Netflix is a lot more comfortable than going for a run, but if you want to feel better, you have to don those exercise clothes and get moving.

Dedication is a part of treatment at The Guest House. We are dedicated to helping you develop the skills you need to move into growth and change. We know trauma has impacted your life in unequivocal ways and that to survive the trauma, your life course was changed. Now, you want to reclaim your life, and you have to relearn how to do certain things. We know that you chose treatment over comfort. Because of that choice, you have already shown dedication to your change.

#2. Change Requires Accountability

Accountability is asking for help and for people to check on your progress. Change requires a willingness to listen and share with others. Accountability ensures you are setting goals and continuing to make strides. Without accountability, you might not leave the couch and go for a run. Accountability is uncomfortable, but it shows a dedication to change and helps ensure the process.

#3. Change Requires Problem-Solving

As you begin on your road toward change, you will find yourself faced with varying problems and setbacks. To continue the running analogy, you may have gotten off the couch and started running but now have twisted your ankle. Do you just give up on your goal to be more fit? No. Instead, you problem-solve. If you cannot run for a short period of time while your ankle recovers, what can you do to improve your fitness? You problem-solve and adapt.

You Will Face Setbacks

In creating change in your life, you will face setbacks. The key is to decide whether you want to have change and grow or if you would rather be comfortable and continue living in the pain and frustration of your life before treatment. Change begets growth. But, first, you must be willing to change and believe that change is possible.

Change is perhaps the most constant fact of life. If you are struggling with overcoming trauma, battling a mental health diagnosis, or even trying to overcome addiction to alcohol, drugs, or behaviors, you may feel as though change is impossible and that your life can never improve; that is a lie. You are capable of great things, and change is possible. At The Guest House, we recognize your intrinsic value and believe in your ability to change, beginning when you call and ask for help. We believe so much in your capacity to change that we offer support for every part of your journey to overcome your struggles. We even offer support after treatment through our Alumni Program. If you feel that you are overwhelmed and struggling, reach out and ask for help. Contact The Guest House at (855) 483-7800 and learn how we can help you thrive.