As we move through the holidays, and move into 2014 setting goals, creating New Year’s resolutions, and making positive changes will become top of mind. There will no doubt be a lot of content out there written about how to set goals, SMART goals, and the list goes on.
That’s not what this post is about. My intent is to share 8 simple insights that will help you make the changes you desire stick! Achieving a goal is great. Making the impact of those goals sustainable is what really counts. You can reach your goal of losing weight and gain even more weight two months later. You can crush it in sales this month and go “0 for 3″ over the next three months. That’s not what we want, right?
We don’t just want positive change, we want positive change that last!
Here are 8 Ways To Make positive Change Last!
1. Think Big but take small steps.
It’s great to have a big, hairy, audacious goal. The most important key to achieving it is simple, consistent, and committed action. The easier you make it to take the right steps on a consistent basis, the more likely you’ll not only achieve your goal, you’ll make your results sustainable. Think big, but take small, immediate steps!
2. Become Accountable.
Allow yourself to become accountable to the changes that matters most to you. One of the hardest things to do as it relates to making results stick is being accountable for those results. Accountability is something we all know is good for us, yet it’s the one thing we will avoid to no end. Why? Being accountable requires us to be vulnerable and risk not looking good. No one likes to share weak moments. Let me encourage you: Get over it! If it matters to you, become accountable to it!
3. Make sure your changes line up with your values.
Lasting change requires congruency. Your attitudes, outlook, and actions must be in alignment with the changes you are making in your life. In fact, the changes you make in different areas of your life should be informed by what you value most. As you make changes based on what matters most to you, believe it or not sustaining those changes will be easier. Why? Because it will just “feel right!” The more you get in alignment the freer you will feel. Make sure your highest values drive your change!
4. Start taking more vitamin D.
Three out of four Americans are vitamin D deficient. A deficiency in vitamin D over an extended period of time is connected with depression, fatigue, a weak immune system, and obesity, just to name a few. These are issues that will knock you off of your change plan and lead you back into your old patterns of behavior that no longer serve you well. The body’s chemistry is no joke. Just because it runs behind the scenes does not make it any less important. Give yourself the best shot at optimum performance by giving your body what it needs to succeed. This includes getting more Vitamin D.
5. Strengthen and define your why.
The How-to’s always come quickest to the person who is clear about “why” they are doing what they do. When you strengthen and define your reason why you do what you do, it creates internal rhythms and external routines that support the changes you want to see. Having a strong “why” also invites others to join you in your efforts -which adds to your accountability and increases the likelihood of you making the change permanent.
6. Set up your “do over play” right from the start.
If you are human the chances are good that you will fall off the wagon a few times. Don’t beat yourself up, or settle into a defeated belief that things will never change. Change is a process that allows your outward results to catch up with your inward decision. Knowing what you know about yourself, and being completely honest with yourself identify the things that are most likely to trip you up and guard against them. If and when you slip decide what your comeback play will look like right out of the gate and move immediately into that. When you understand that mistakes are an inevitable part of the change process you can account for them upfront and not be devastated emotionally when they happen.
7. Vicariously live your end results every day.
See the change you desire clearly. What does your day to day look and feel like once the change has happened? How will others see you? What positive things will you hear them say? What will you say? How will you act? Answering questions like these will give you actionable behaviors and help you establish belief systems that will allow you to make the results of your change more “real” to you (while the transformation process is taking place). The results of change always lag behind the decision to change. In the mean time, to sustain the change you want to see vicariously live your results every day!
8. Make the change an extension of your identity.
This last one is a close cousin to number 7. I decided to separate it out because it deserves the emphasis. Change can be hard, but it never has to be impossible. The biggest reason why changes don’t stick is because the “old way” is connected with the person we think we are. Who we see ourselves to be is a powerful agent in how we act and what we choose to do. That’s why identity based habits are the best habits to have. If you want to increase your compliance rate, make the change you want be a part of who you are. An easy but very effective way to do this is by reminding yourself often the “type” of person you are. Say things like, “…I’m the type of person who always (insert the change result).” For example, if I want want to sustain the change of not eating after 7pm I would say something like: “I’m the type of person who never eats after 7pm.” To boost the effect of this technique, make up a sensible reason why and tack on the end of your identity statement. “I’m the type of person who never eats after 7pm because it just reeks havoc on my fat burning bio-rhythms.”
We make identity statements all of the time. “Oh, I’m not a math person.” “I don’t do ‘plaid’.” If you want your changes to be sustainable, make them an extension of who you are.
I realize, change is not always easy. But be encouraged; by being intentional about doing a few of these 8 things on a regular basis, you will make the results of your change permanent.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!