You’re not going to make a home run.
Not at first at least. The first step to any long-lasting change is to accept this as a fact because change is hard as f****. And the goal is to set yourself up for success.
If you want to change something in your life then you need to start small.
Most people associate change with taking giant leaps, like forcing a baby to run when they can only walk. The truth is taking leaps and hitting home runs don’t work because it’s a temporary win. Most of you are also fixated with the results. You see the results and become defeated because it seems too out of reach.
Likewise, when you focus on the outcome only, then it’s hard to see the between the steps. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visualize––the outcome isn’t the end all be all.
Lasting change is possible. But first, there are three reasons why you’re confronted with a change in the first place. Combine change with the why and how and you’ll be unstoppable on your journey to change.
Where Are You On The Change Pendulum
You’re sick of hearing this, but change is inevitable. Yet, despite knowing this, it doesn’t make it any easier. But, it’s still critical to understand why you need to change in the first place.
The unexpected change is something you weren’t expecting. Whether it’s a change at work, a change in plans or anything that derails and surprises you.
The traumatic change is when an incident threatens your survival. Again, a sudden illness, a tragedy or even a break-up.
Finally, the planned change is when you make a conscious decision to change. For instance, you’re fed up with something and you make a declaration. Today is the day!
It doesn’t matter where you are along with the change pendulum, change is still painful. Change is like an alarm system in which you can’t snooze over and over again. This is a clear sign that something isn’t working. Change forces you to grow (learn a lesson) so you can strengthen your resiliency.
Sometimes making a change feels hopeless. Because many of you don’t believe you are capable of change––but you are. Sometimes making a change feels fixed.
Because you’ve always been this way––but everyone can change––even you. Other times you don’t know how and where to start because it’s too overwhelming to even think about it.
Know that all isn’t lost. There are practical ways to change. But, you first need to believe in a few things: one, you are capable, two, it’s possible and three, you’re worthy.
One day at the age of 30, I woke up and stepped on the scale. It read 235lbs (I’m 5’4). The crazy thing was, I didn’t realize how much weight I gained over the years. But after picking up the pieces following a terrible break-up I knew something had to change.
I spent that year changing the habits that contributed to my severe weight gain. But it was a long journey. Filled with ups and downs. Filled with gains and losses. But, by teaching myself practical ways to make a lasting change I lost 85lbs and kept it off for several years.
I want the same for you. So, I’m here to share with you the steps, the behavioral and subtle changes to create long-lasting change.
“When you take control of your habits you take control of your life.”
Starting Small Is The Key To Change
As stated earlier, stop focusing on home runs. Home runs are fleeting like happiness. It feels good to hit a home run but once it’s done, it’s done. Your goal is to maintain a streak. So how do you do that?
First, two books will help you as you begin to change your habits. They are The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Both have similar concepts. But The Compound Effect goes a bit deeper into creating effective habits.
Change happens in only bite sizes. So you can breathe easy knowing that you don’t have to swing home runs anymore. You cannot make any changes in your life without first building habits.
When I started my weight loss journey, I worked out for 10 minutes a day. It seemed silly at first. Hardly anyone loses weight by only working 10 minutes a day. But what happens when you do this every day or even three times a week?
The compound effect happens and you begin to make massive changes in your life. The compound effect is the idea of interest, in other words, the little things add up to massive things.
“The journey starts with a single step—not with thinking about taking a step.”Jeff Olson
For instance, one-minute meditation may not change your life. However, over time you’ll feel the difference. Once you start small something magical will happen.
Dummy proof habits are magical.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you create a dummy-proof habit. Dummy proof means the habit is so easy that it seems silly to not do it. Let’s return to the meditation goal of one minute.
Most if not everyone has one minute to spare in their day to take a respite. Execute dummy-proof habits more and more. Your confidence will increase as a result. This will help your habits to stick so in the end change becomes inevitable.
A Simple Formula For Lasting Change
You have to trust yourself first.
Although the formula is simple, it comes with trusting that you’re capable. And you’re worthy of change.
You’re worthy of letting go of habits that no longer serve you or allow you to thrive. Of course, with any intention, you must first decide to change.
Here is a template for long-lasting change. We’ll use meditation as an example. This is if you want to meditate every day.
First month: KISS (keep it simple stupid) I will meditate every Monday for one minute for one month.
The second month: I will meditate every Monday & Tuesday for one minute for one month.
The third month: I will meditate every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for one minute for one month.
The key is to build the habit using small steps and the compound effect method. Once you build the habit you can increase the time.
As I stated earlier, I exercised for 10 minutes only. Once I built the habit I grew confident (i.e., I felt stronger). Therefore, I added five more minutes. I continued to add 5 minutes until I finally was able to work out for 60 minutes.
This is how you set yourself up for success. Change takes time. Once you accept this, it’s easier to wrap your head around it. Remember, change also takes consistency. Once you practice being consistent it becomes ingrained.
An ingrained change is hard to change. Ultimately, the goal is to ingrain a habit that serves to improve your life and not tear it apart. Don’t do it all at once. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small.
To further support you in long-lasting change, Habit dives even deeper into change. And here’s a great video that goes into depth about some things that weren’t already covered.
Create A Belief System That Results In Long-Lasting Change
One thing about changing a habit is you’ll find yourself yo-yoing along your journey. You are consistent for a few weeks then you fall off the wagon, then you jump back on the horse only to fall off again.
This happened to me several times along my weight loss journey. There was a time, I lost all the weight only to regain 30lbs. I felt lost and at a standstill. Until I read Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People.
The biggest takeaway: tie habits into your value system. For me losing weight was as big as valuing honesty––it leads you to behave differently. You begin to make decisions from your value system and that’s when you compromise less.
Change Is Possible For Everyone, Even You
No matter the reasons why you are thinking about making changes in your life, it’s possible for you too.
But even if you read this blog post, watch videos and read the books, it won’t matter much. If you don’t believe this to be true––then you won’t change a thing.
Likewise, you have to be patient because change is humbling (and painful). Understand the changes you are thinking of making are here for the long-haul.
In other words, you’re in this for the long-game. Once you understand there is no end. That change is a lifestyle. Then you are more likely to change your habits for the better.
So start small, keep it dummy-proof, believe it’s possible for you and then make it a part of your values.
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