Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Make a Change that Will Last.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
 -Karen Lamb

  Think back to last New Years. Did you make a resolution to lose weight and start exercising? How long did it last? If you are like most people, you stuck to your resolution for about two weeks and then went back to your same old unhealthy habits. And it's not because you didn't have good intentions; change, even when we want it, can be difficult to commit to. That is because change can make us feel, among other things, uncomfortable, deprived, uncertain, alone and afraid.  Therefore, when we are faced with the choice of continuing to stay as we are (even if it is not how we want to be) or changing, we choose to remain the same.
  So, if you are making a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, start exercising and/or eat healthy, how do you make the change last? Knowing that doing these things are "good for you" is just not enough.                                          
                     The key to making a lasting change 
                                     is to develop an 
                      Emotional Connection to your goal.

        Below are some questions and ideas to think about, to help you create this emotional connection. Since everyone's connection and goals are unique to them, pick the question(s) that are helpful for you, to start thinking deeply about your goals. Write down your answers somewhere that you can refer back to them, which will keep your connection fresh in your mind.
 When you are finished, create a positive mantra or word that represents your emotional connection. For example: "I can do this" "I am strong" "This is my destiny"  "Courage"  Use your special mantra as a type of active meditation. Say it to yourself  when you don't feel motivated to workout, when you feel like giving up or when faced with eating something that will sabotage your goals.

 Questions and Ideas
1. Ask yourself what it would really mean to you, if you achieved your fitness goal.

2. How would achieving your goal improve your daily quality of life?

3.What might the consequences be to you and your family if you continue to not exercise or remain overweight. What could the future hold for you if you do not change and how could it be different if you do?

4. Do you have negative feelings about yourself that make you feel as if you can never be a runner/swimmer/triathlete ?  Or that you can never lose weight and maintain weight loss? Think about when those feelings started and why they developed. Then think objectively about why that image of yourself isn't true.  

5. Think of something that you have accomplished in your life that was difficult. Remember all of the hard work that you put into achieving that goal. Think back to a time when you may have thought you were not going to achieve it. What helped you get through that period?

6. Imagine yourself achieving your goal. Really try to feel how happy you will be when you make that permanent change. Think about how great it will feel. See yourself as that "new person" Let yourself meditate on those feelings of pride and accomplishment everyday. Visualize how you will look. Start seeing yourself as that person instead of the image you have of yourself now. 

 Change is hard. Especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Establishing an emotional connection to your goals will help you stay focused and motivated  to create the life you want. Believe in yourself. I know that you can do it!