“What do we know about change? Change is possible… Lasting change is best… Change is a challenge… Change is possible.” –Dr. Michael Vallis
This quote says a quite a lot about change, and will be the center of focus for this month1.
Picture this - it’s a few minutes after midnight on New Year’s Eve, you’ve closed your eyes tight and are thinking to yourself: This is it. This is a fresh start for me. When you closed your eyes did you think of how in 2014 you’re going to shed those few extra pounds, eat better, or exercise more? If you did, you’re not alone. It is estimated that just over half of Canadians admitted to making New Year’s resolutions to better themselves last year2. Would you believe that of those hope- filled, well-meaning Canadians, only half of them continued their ambitions past one month.
While we all have the absolute best intentions when we imagine our fantastic new life in the new year, many of us become discouraged or disenchanted over time. Then we give up. We give up and we think maybe next year…
But that isn’t going to happen to you this year. 2014 is the year to start off strong and remain strong. Change is possible.
But how do we achieve lasting change? What makes the difference between thinking you can do it, and actually doing it?
Step one: Accept that change is hard. If you fail, it’s not because you are lazy or lack discipline, it is because it can be extremely difficult to change our behavior. It took you umpteen years to create these habits; it will take time to change them. When you think about health related goals like eating better or exercising more – think about the fact that this is abnormal behavior relative to the world we live in.
Step two: Learn to love yourself. Be positive toward yourself and toward your new changes. Did you eat two slices of pie instead of one? So what? Now is not the time to put yourself down. Now is the time to support yourself and find others who will support you too.
Step three: Find your drive. What motivates you? What really kicks you in the rear and helps you find your ‘get up and go’? This is your time to find it! Some motivational strategies that have worked for others: make a public commitment via social media or in your workplace (don’t forget to update with your progress); find a healthy buddy; put your goal in writing and put it where you’ll see it often; build anticipation (setting a start date of January 20th is just as good as January 1st and may be more realistic for you).
This is your time to plan your path. Think about your path as the means to your end goal. Take some quality time with yourself to dig deep and reflect on how these changes can fit into your life and how you can turn this path into your destination. Remember that change is hard, but change is possible. Your change is possible.
To get you started, here are the three small steps you can take right now:
Accept the fact that change is hard and it takes time.
Love yourself. Be positive about your own change and don’t put yourself down.
Find your drive, your motivation.
There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking it. Stay positive and motivated.
Look for another blog post next week on finding your path.