One must be aware they have a problem and/or need to change before anything can be accomplished in the direction of personal growth.
However, awareness is only the first step and personal development/self help is way more than a twelve step staircase.
The intent to change is mandatory. One must state their intent to themselves, writing it down in a journal is also mandatory. However, the intent to change can be a double-edged sword to those who think that awareness of a problem/short coming and the intent to change will do the work for them.
This is one of my biggest personal failures in my quest to be my best self. Constantly, repeatedly thinking that my intent to change will do the work for me when I am pressed up against my comfort zone in the moment(s) of choice.
There is no substitute for taking action.
No amount of awareness or positive intent to change will create substantial change. The negative/counter productive habits of thought, perception, and action can only be changed by consistent new actions to create new points of reference. Only by taking the actions and creating a new pool of reference experiences will you create your new reality.
That is how we dig ourselves into holes, that is how we dig ourselves out; action.
Awareness is the way out, that is true. One can’t change without the intent to change, that is also true.
But we only change outside of our comfort zone. It is easy to be aware of our short comings and intend to change while we’re not being tested by ourselves or by the external world around us. Feeling the fear in the stomach when the moment of choice is upon us, is where/when we must exercise courage and take action in the direction of the change and new reality we wish to manifest.
Trying and failing is fine. Trying and coming up a little short is fine. Step by step, day by day. But the key word/concept is trying, trying is action. We must build new reference experiences for our mind to access. Those reference experiences, as the continuously, constantly accumulate, eventually become our new reality for better and for worse. We can do this with an exercise regiment or by eating like a pig, by being the life of the party or a wallflower, cultivating a new hobby/skill set or binge watching digital video programming.
That’s why the saying goes: “easier said than done”.
Awareness is not easy to cultivate, having it is an accomplishment.
Intent to change eludes many for entire lifetimes.
But at the end of the day anyone can want to change, think they have to change, plan to change, and say they want to change. But it’s all about action. We can’t pay our bills with positive intention. I won’t meet a romantic partner because I am aware that I want to. None of us progress (or decline) without action. Don’t get caught in the ego centered quicksand of believing that wanting to change is enough, simply wanting anything is never enough.