One of our greatest challenges as human beings is to make change permanent for ourselves. By and large, we are creatures of habit and consistency. It is generally how we thrive and be successful. If our habits and consistency lend themselves to unhelpful or unhealthy pursuits, to make change permanent becomes more difficult.
Struggling with Change
For some time now, I have been working on my weight loss. Before I started to commit to my latest attempt, I needed to come up with a plan. I did some study of how people successfully lose weight and at what points they can fail at it.
I learned it is common that people will adopt a plan which is well-known. They will perform the steps and guidelines to the letter, and as expected, the pounds will drop right off. Once the program is complete, they have a sense of accomplishment and are satisfied. However, after the plan has worked, they return to the previous habits, and the weight returns. Perhaps not as much, or sometimes even more.
Change can also be very deliberate and require even greater effort to be successful. When taking on the decision to get your degree through night courses well after leaving college. This is a program which could take years. You may have an employer to ask for some breaks and adjustments for. Home responsibilities like children, pets, family, even a partner must be managed in new ways. You might also miss a lot of free time with people you enjoy spending time with.
The struggle to change can be more difficult when the target is a bad habit that lends itself to its continuation. My struggle was incredible to give up fast food. I felt it was my right be able to enjoy food whenever the craving presented itself. One time I remember well, I was quite hungry and driving by a fast-food burger drive-up, and I denied myself. Instead of turning left at the light I sat in the other lane waiting to pass the place and I just got angry. It was in the moment I knew I had a problem.
Worse, much more potent addictions like some drugs, nicotine, and alcohol have their own effects. These influences not only trigger and emotional response, but a physical one as well.
These are all impacts on a scale, and when you are planning for change, understanding what may lie before you are important. You can prepare to deal with these and be successful with study and planning.
Making the Plan
The first thing to do is fully understand what your goal is. Create a clear vision of what your life will be like after you have cemented this change in your life. Will you be able to hike more often, get a promotion with a degree, become a better parent, or friend, or live a longer life to enjoy your family? Spend time picturing this wonderful new way of being, you will need it to help you through the obstacles which you cannot foresee.
A goal alone is not enough to guarantee success. Every goal requires steps to reach. The first step is the most important, and it comes from your vision. Your commitment to create this new change in your life. Then move to the next step. Steps that are too large can appear overwhelming, so give yourself milestones to demonstrate progress with your goal.
For my fitness goal, I needed to reach 45 pushups. However, I could barely do 5 when I started. My second step, after my commitment, was to do 10. That took a couple weeks, but I could measure progress and never feel that 45 was out of reach.
You have your vision to get you through most obstacles, but sometimes that is not enough. You may need a coach or cheerleader to help you manage the rough spots. Find someone early in the journey who can be your sounding board. A good cheerleader has done what you are trying before. It is not enough to just say “you can do it” (but it helps). Someone who has ideas of how to help and can empathize with your struggle can be invaluable.
The last, and most important part is to review your progress regularly and adjust your vision as appropriate. You can use those small steps you developed to help gauge your progress to make change permanent. These are huge motivating moments when you can see you moving toward your goal. Achieving your vision. Adjust your vision when you find new benefits to this change you are taking on. You might find out that if you lose the weight, your life insurance might drop, or you can replace a costly policy with a better blood pressure. That means more money, and you can start to plan for a trip or vacation.
The goal’s completion is the end but living that vision of a new life with the change is what truly helps you sustain it.
I hope you get some good tips out of this post on How to Make Change Permanent. This is a formula that has worked very well for me and was developed from studying the success of others. I hope it serves you well!