Change for Good
Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak at a local business as part of a wellness program for their employees. I’ll be talking about eating habits worth changing, effective goal setting, and staying motivated through the ups and downs. I thought you just might enjoy taking a gander at the handout I’ll be leaving them with…so here it is!
Want to make some big changes in your life? While motivation and determination will carry you a long way, a solid plan will ensure you reach your goal. Therefore, as you ponder the possibility of a new you, consider the following tactics; whether you’re hoping to shed weight, get fit, or quit smoking, these strategies will help you set your course, steer you past obstacles, and push you across that finish line.
Plan for obstacles. Any serious life change is not easy, so don’t fool yourself into thinking your goal will be a cake walk (unless, of course, your goal is to do more charity fundraising!). Take a realistic look at where you’re at now and where you’ve been before. Odds have it, you may have pursued this goal before. What tactics worked in previous attempts? What didn’t work? What tripped you up? Why did you give up? This is all critical information. The key is to use these cues to create a plan of action that will be perfectly tailored to you as an individual and hinges upon your weaknesses and strengths.
Control your environment. As you set out to achieve your goals, you’ll be faced with temptation—count on it! But, with a little rearrangement, you can create a supportive atmosphere that minimizes slippery situations that might cause you to stumble. First, eliminate the usual suspects. It is cruel and unusual punishment to surround yourself with constant sources of temptation. Second, fill the void. Replace that bad habit with a positive substitute that will help you reach your goal. Want to quit smoking? If you used to take a smoke break during your lunch hour, you’d better choose a new activity to fill that vacant time. Take a walk. Read a good mystery novel. Pick up a hobby that will keep you busy. Third, surround yourself with supportive friends and family and reconsider relationships that revolve around the habit you’re trying to kick.
Monitor your progress. Imagine taking a road trip down an endless winding highway with no mile markers and a foggy destination. You’d have no idea how far you’ve come and only a vague notion of how many miles you have left to travel. Similarly, ambiguous and immeasurable goals make it difficult to assess your progress and can even cause you to doubt your success. When choosing a resolution, make it as specific as possible and determine an objective means to monitor your success. Create milestones that will keep you motivated and will guide you to your ultimate goal every step of the way.
Reward yourself! This is the fun part. Once you’ve figured out how to measure your success and have created milestones, you can reward yourself for reaching these progress goals. A word of caution, however: choose rewards that aren’t in opposition to your resolution. If you’re trying to lose weight, a quart of Ben & Jerry’s wouldn’t be an appropriate reward. Instead, choose a reward that will spur you on to further success. Buy a new CD. Treat yourself to a day at the slopes. Get a massage. The key is to reward yourself in ways that will motivate you and help you reach that next milestone.