It’s easy to see in our society that we have become a people with need for quick fixes, high speed everything, and a broad spectrum of ways to change things we don’t like about ourselves. I agree that progress and vanity has vaulted us into this way of thinking; however, not everything should be done quickly just because it’s possible. True self-improvement is one of those things. Though many small steps can be taken along the journey, the total project will take some time to accomplish, so leave your microwave mentality behind. (Even cosmetic surgery takes weeks and sometimes months to recover from, not to mention how long it might take to pay for it).
There are several points to the changing process that most of us simply don’t understand or nonchalantly choose to ignore. First, we have to calmly and realistically develop a short list (one or two items) of things we want to change about our lives. Trust me; this isn’t the time to make your endless lists of disapproving critiques about everything from your thighs to your overzealous tendency to throw things when you’re angry. However, it is a good time to prioritize what will make the most impact on your current state.
Second, once you have chosen your focus item(s), you need to proceed to realizing where you are. Rate yourself in that area from 0-10. (I have an effective visual aid for this. Contact me for details.) This exercise will help you understand how far away you are from an acceptable place. For example, if you are a 4 in your ability to listen and communicate and you want to be at a 9, this tells you that you have some work to do. Another interesting way you can find out where you are with your change areas is to ask someone else you trust to rate you. Keep an open mind if you do this. Getting angry with your best friend for saying you’re a three when you think you’re a six is not going to help you.
Feel Your Success Before You Have It
The third thing that will boost your success rate is finding an emotional correlation between you and your goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, surround yourself and your thoughts with the positive things that will come out of lightening your load. It may be that you desire a more fulfilling love life or to be more active. Focus on how those things would make you feel. As hard as it might be, try not to dwell on the negative emotions that you may currently feel. Getting angry or depressed when you see yourself in the mirror can keep you in an emotional state that will only bring negative results and self-sabotage.
One Thing At A Time
Taking baby steps is a strong key to ongoing success as well. Keep in mind that whatever you are trying to change about yourself likely did not get that way overnight. I found that by doing just one thing that makes you feel good about the overall change is a step in the right direction. When I was ill with debilitating migraine several years ago, all I could do as far as exercise was wall push-ups. They didn’t require a lot of effort, therefore, did not cause unnecessary pressure on my head.
At first, I felt the one-minute a day that I spent trying to keep in shape would not do anything for me. In fact, I almost stopped doing them all together. Well, it got to the point that I developed a habit of doing them everyday. Before I knew it, I was developing muscle in my arms and chest that was not there before. I actually lost some unwanted pounds and even felt physically stronger in a time when I was mostly in bed. When people saw me following my isolation, they wondered how I kept in such good shape during a period of illness. I was a little taken back by the noticeable outcome myself. It was in the consistency of doing the one thing that made the difference. In other words, do what you can; you WILL get results!
Don’t forget to tell someone about your goals. A friend or family member can be of great service to you by keeping you accountable. Those who love you will want your success as much as you do and are more likely to cheer you on to greater heights of change. Also, be accountable to yourself by keeping a journal of your activities surrounding your goals. If it’s weight loss, keep a food and exercise diary. If it’s communication with your significant other, then keep a log of conversations and actions that got results, positive or negative. Be creative with this.
Don’t Give Up
You must keep up your efforts with each step at least 3-4 weeks before you form new habits. If you give up too soon, then you are selling yourself short of true change. Anything you do requires ongoing energy to make it reality. It’s time to break the old habits and replace them with new, positive ones. Remember, you are worth the effort you put in, and no one else in this world will help you like you can help yourself. I would love to hear from you in a few weeks when you have sincerely put forth effort to meet a goal to change. Good luck with everything, and remember to keep a smile on your face.