In the previous posts in this blog series, I have mentioned the importance of taking a fresh perspective, keeping things light, and asking for support in claiming personal change. Here’s one last idea to complete the picture.
Follow through–change has many steps
Life is busy and many of us are in a hurry. And we skip things. When you are trying to nail a change, this can really backfire on you. If you are making changes that are important to you, make a commitment to follow through and to treat all the small steps as important.
What do I mean by this? Say you want to lose weight and you know that you need to stop going out to lunch. You decide to take a healthy lunch to work and you feel pleased. One week later you are starting over again. Why? You probably didn’t commit and schedule your change all the way through. A decision to take a healthy lunch doesn’t make it happen. When you set out to make a change, write down every single teensy-tiny step involved and make a place for it in your life. Write down every single itty-bitty potential challenge and consider it.
I’ll show you where I’ve seen the healthy lunch example fall apart when people don’t do this.
Taking a healthy lunch every day involves:
Finding food you like
Buying the food
Finding the time to make the lunch and actually doing it
Remembering to bring the lunch you made
Taking time to eat the lunch and potentially giving up social time at the restaurant
More challenges might be:
Remembering to repeat the menu planning and grocery buying the next week (this is where it often falls apart)
Getting bored with your lunches
Forgetting your lunches
Frequent lunch meetings where it may feel awkward to bring a lunch
Not having the container you need to take your lunch in….
You get the idea.
Here’s the point. You can have an absolutely brilliant plan for a change you want to make. But if you ignore the challenges you know you are going to face and if you don’t carve out the time to take the necessary steps, you are likely to feel frazzled and overwhelmed before your new habit even gets a fair trial. It’s tempting to skip the steps that sound so small and boring (like scheduling a time to menu plan), but skipping the essential puts you behind before you start.
Remember the goal. It’s not to get really good at starting over, it’s to integrate this new habit or change into your life in a way that eventually feels seamless and requires minimal effort. Even better, wouldn’t you love to create a new habit that you’d miss if it went away? Give these four areas some attention and let me know what happens.
Take good care,