Hey Everyone! Welcome to the last part in a series of posts about the “4 Ways to Change Your Life.” In this post, I’ll share why goals are not enough, what’s another obstacle to us changing our lives, and getting us to doing what matters for us.
December 31, end of the old year. Midnight. January 1. Start of a new year, full of hope and optimism. It’s also the season for new year’s resolutions! Lose weight, learn something new, start a business, get out of my old job/house/country/relationship, and all that. It starts off great, but usually after 3 or 4 months, at best,
well, you know what happens.
You don’t continue, you stop.
New year’s resolutions, typically don’t work. See you in March, when you’re NOT doing anything about it.
Not just about the goal
If you want to get to your goals, get to changing your life, you’ve got to make the changes stick. And before you get the changes to stick, you’ve got to take consistent action to make sure they happen first.
It’s about creating a system, a practice, a rhythm, a routine, for you to follow and undergo action. Use a process to get you taking constant and consistent action to get to your goal, or what you want.
Brick by Brick, Stone by Stone
There’s a saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Brick by brick, stone by stone, laid on top of one another over a period of time. Same for lasting change, be it body, mind, or heart. What you need to do is to build a system – a routine of actions and activities you keep track of, that lead to the result that you want.
You can start by identifying the activities and actions that can get you to where you want to be. Start simple and small. Want to be healthier and feel better about yourself? You can start with exercise, or doing a better job at work, or being more kind to your family. And start with simple actions. A good morning greeting, one push-up, simple, small, actionable steps to get you closer.
It’s important to start with small steps, so it makes it easier for you to start and keep on going with the actions and activities that can help you change your life.
Just a goal and good ‘ol motivation won’t get you there.
Especially with bigger changes, it just won’t be enough.
when you set goals, or when you want changes to happen in your life, you’ve got to avoid just setting the goal, making the resolution, and leaving it up to motivation. Sure, motivation is really great and helpful in getting you to start, or in getting you to do anything, for that matter!
Avoid “new-year’s resolution” type goal setting and burnout. You don’t want to keep going at it for 2 to 3 months, then BAM! Nothing after. The changes you made won’t stick. Worse, you can slide back into the place where you came from.
Be clear with what you want
Why is this change important for you? How will this activity help me get there?
It’s important to connect with your WHY. Why is this important for you? Getting clear on the real, basic reason why will not only provide motivation, but will give you more reasons to stick to your actions and activities, your process of change.
Get real with your WHY. Because that’s what will get you to stick to doing your actions, ultimately getting the change to stick to your life.
Commit to achieving your goal and to getting things done. This is connected to how much do you want it. Do you really want it that badly? If you want to get stronger, and yet you don’t go to the gym, don’t exercise, don’t watch what you eat, are you really committed to your goal?
Commitment is doing what it takes to get to the end goal.
Commitment is doing what you set out to do, even if the feeling that pushed you to start isn’t there anymore.
“Commitment is staying the course even when the feeling that pushed you to commit is gone.”
So get it done! Find whatever reason there is to get doing.
Make your environment work to your advantage
Change and adjust your environment to make it easier for you to stick to your actions, and your commitment.
Need to go for an early morning run the next morning? Prepare your outfit, shoes near your bed, so when you wake up, it will be easier for you to start.
What about if you want to lose weight, and you’re avoiding juice or soft drink? Don’t buy any and don’t stock them in your house. Keep a water bottle close to you. That way, it becomes easier for you to just drink water.
Focus on regular, measurable, action
It’s important to make sure the actions you set out to do are very clear and measurable, so you don’t get yourself confused and create gray areas for yourself to break commitments and fail.
So don’t set out to “lessen the amount of cola I drink in a day.” Instead, make it a point to “Not drink cola on weekdays.” or to “Only drink 2 glasses of cola on Sundays.” Make it black and white. Be clear.
A system gets you there, so make a way to track it, visible every day, to remind yourself of your progress, or lack of it. For me, I put a little monthly calendar in my room, and I mark an X over each date when I accomplish my daily activities – which are exercise and writing 10 ideas daily. And over a period of time, I can see if I am sticking to my goal by sticking to my actions and activities.
Starting new habits can be hard, and ultimately, you want them to stick. So start with the smallest actionable step you can take.
One little step at first. You want to get moving first. Then you can build up on top of that.
One push-up. One Squat. 15 second plank. One minute of meditation.
Start small, then snowball. You don’t get to big progress by not moving. You’ve got to get moving first, and starting small can help you with that, particularly when there isn’t anything drastic or life-threatening in your situation.
Trust in the Process
Part of building a process that gets you to take action, is to create new, more effective habits, and unlearn damaging, self-destructing ones. Your are training your body, mind, and heart to go for positive change and success that sticks. To get to a better, more powerful place in your life.
So start small, get to doing action, and get clear on your why.
And trust, trust in the process, even though the effects are not seen right away. Even successes sometimes look like failures in the middle of their journeys.
Get to changing your life for the better.
Thanks everyone for reading up! This may be the last post in the “4 Ways to Change Your Life” Series, but rest assured I’ll still be sharing new tips and actions you can take to improve and change your life. Let me know what you think in the comments below!