Tips to create lasting change

How are you doing with consistently meeting your goals?

Do you feel closer than you did last year, even last month?

I find personally that I my commitment ebbs and flows with time if I don’t stay diligent.  Just yesterday, I found myself feeling frustrated with my lack of success in addressing a behavior I have been working on for the last year. 

Let’s face it, creating change is hard, it takes time and energy both of which are in short supply some days.  My life is full— often hectic,  but if I want to change a pattern or circuit (habit) in my brain I am going to have to repeatedly fire a new ‘healthier’ circuit.  Unfortunately doing something different once or twice is not going to create a new habit.  The brain needs to have the pattern (circuit) fire repeatedly over time to create a new pattern in the brain where it becomes easier and automatic.

Further, our brains perceive change as a threat (and stressful), therefore works to get us to repeat the same old behaviors.  It does this by making us forget what we’re working on or by thinking negative thoughts like “this is silly, it won’t work”.

That means to accomplish lasting change; we need to be consistent enough that we’re doing the new behavior much more than we do the old one and finding ways to push past the resistance and be comfortable with the discomfort of change.

Tips to create lasting change:

1. Ignore the impulse to “bite off more than you can do”

Choose to change only 1 (2 maximum) behaviors at a time.  I find that I (like many of my clients) just don’t have the energy or time to address more than that.  Remember that if you were in fact successful  at rewiring a couple of behaviors at a time then over the year look at how much progress you would have made!

2. Change what matters to you

Choose only behaviors that are important and meaningful to you.  If it isn’t important to YOU then you won’t take the time and energy needed to successfully create a new wire/pattern.

3. Create a plan

Set specific goals and action plans.  Make sure the goal is specific and measurable and then set out the steps that you need to do to accomplish it.

4. Get support

I have blogged several times on the importance of support to achieving success.  So I won’t go into it again.  However I have noticed a trend where my clients get support when they are struggling or at the beginning of the process but then let their support systems drop as they gain success.  This does not set you up for long term success.

Look at an elite athlete or winning team, they don’t let their trainers, coaches go before the big game or race.  They know that their support has gotten them to where they are it is critical to continue with their support so that they continue to be successful.

You can do it!