Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end . . .
Have you ever stayed at a job too long? Held onto a bad relationship with Mr. Wrong? We, humans, hate change and will even endure some pretty horrific things just to avoid change. And it’s not until you’ve undergone some major change, which you dreaded, that you begin to wonder what took you so long to change? Change doesn’t just happen – you have to have a purpose.
Visualize the Change
Thinking about change, then it is important to have a focus. Why are you looking to change? Many folks that I know that have embraced changes, such as quitting smoking, have done so with a purpose. My friend Margo quit because as she put it “I want to see my grandkids.” Another friend lost weight to fit into the wedding dress of her dreams. If you are working towards a new, healthier you, what is your goal?
Make a brief list of benefits the goal will achieve –
• I’d have better health
• I’d have better self-esteem
• Clothes fit better
• I’d live longer
• I’d have more time with my kids
What’s stopping you?
Make a brief list of obstacles that would prevent you from achieving your goal
• I don’t have time to exercise
• I don’t have time to grocery shop for healthy food, take out is easier
• I am too stressed right now.
Now that you listed them, post them somewhere, so you don’t try to use them.
Develop an action plan
You’ve set your goal, now how do you get there? An action plan is a roadmap: it helps us turn our dreams into a reality.
1. Develop a plan – This is what I call “the what” exercise. What action needs to be taken? What resources will you need? What change needs to occur? What are your objectives? Be specific.
2. Reality Check – How does this solution improve your life? How much? How long – permanently or temporarily?
3. Will it work? – What is the probability of success? What are the risks? What happens if the plan fails?
4. Does it fit? Is the change consistent with your lifestyle, is it sustainable? If not, is it still viable?
5. Remember the Consequences – What are the intended consequences? What are some unintended possible consequences? What is the risk/reward outcome?
6. Think of Resources – What does the plan depend on in terms of time, support, equipment or emotional energy? What resources can you tap into?
7. Take it one day at a time – Very often we get overwhelmed when the task seems too big. Break it down into achievable bite sizes. What is your goal for today? That’s all you need to worry about.
Change is tough. Let’s not pretend otherwise. It’s against our nature. And most importantly – there are no magic pills, you won’t lose weight in your sleep and you won’t develop a six pack in less than three minutes a day! But you can make small sustainable choices that will improve your health.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”