Do Something Different

One piece of advice I sometimes give to my Atlanta psychotherapy and counseling clients may seem too simple to have lasting impact. However, just because something is simple doesn't mean that it's easy, and what I'm about to say can go a long way in helping you to overcome virtually any personal issue that is negatively impacting your life.

The advice is simply this: do something different. If you normally zig, then zag in some way. For the truth is that you are more predictable than you likely realize.

Have you ever heard the saying "do what you did to get what you got"? A related phrase is that "if you want something different you have to do something different".  Your choices have helped to determine the direction of your life to this point. To chart a new course it's crucial to change the decisions or actions you tend to make. The good news is that it almost doesn't matter what that change is. Just about anything will do, as long as it is different. And it doesn't have to be anything particularly earth-shattering: it's sufficient enough if only you notice.

Of course, some changes are going to impact the outcome of your life more than others. If you're depressed, it may not matter much if you change brands of soap (but do it anyway if that's all you can manage or come up with for now). However, it may make a substantial difference in a very short period of time if you tell someone what you're feeling if you normally keep it to yourself, do an act of kindness for someone else, go a day without alcohol, change your hairstyle or even just take a walk. Keep in mind these are just random examples: pick one that works best for you and do it.

How can a change, even one that doesn't seem directly related to the problem at hand, assist you in achieving your goal? Three reasons:

  • First, the act of change requires being aware of your own decision-making process and any act of increased self-awareness is a good thing for our purposes. Whatever you can do just a little now you'll be able to do more later.
  • Second, any change you make gives you information about what to do or not do in the future. When Thomas Edison was asked if he was discouraged after repeatedly but uncsuccessfully trying to invent a light bulb he replied "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." And I can pretty much guarantee that no matter what you're trying to improve in your life, it won't take that many efforts to change. Don't worry about 10,000 -- go for 10.
  • The third benefit for doing something different is the tendency within any system for one change to influence other modifications that don't always seem immediately evident. If you have ever seen a hanging mobile you know that when one portion moves it causes the rest of the structure to adjust in large or subtle ways to compensate.

So if you are looking for the "difference that makes a difference", you may find it simply by engaging in change for the sake of change. Try it. You may be pleasantly surprised at what develops.


Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT is highly experienced and dynamic psychotherapist and counselor in Atlanta.  In addition addressing general issues adults face he is well known for the quality of his work with the many issues that surround compulsive or poorly controlled sexual behavior.  Whether the problem is called sex addiction or simply repeatedly deceptive sexual behavior, Bill Herring has long been a professional people in Atlanta seek for his caring expertise and intelligent perspective.