Prepare Yourself for Change: Part 3


Last week we left off discussing the various Stages of Change. Not everyone is in a mindset to change their behaviors, but understanding basic psychology can help us progress through these Stages, and move us closer to our goals. I see clients in all stages on a regular basis, with some more ready to change their behaviors than others. When a new client comes in to talk with me, I already know several things about them. First, they are interested in changing something about their health or physique which means they do not like where they are. Second, they are willing to seek out extra help in order to attain their goal, which means that they have tried before and failed.

Now this second part is important. Think about that for a second, they've tried before and come up short. This isn't just a pick-up game of basketball we are talking about here, this is our health. This stuff is important. Some would argue that there is nothing more important than your health. Trying and failing to improve one's health after months and sometimes years is heartbreaking. But, I'm willing to bet you've been there. I know I sure have. I've frustrated myself and done so many zany diets I sometimes lose count. People do not like to fail. In fact, they hating failing so much, that occasionally they won't even try. This traps many people in the Pre-Contemplation stage for a long time. In order to progress and make change, you have to be ready to put it on the line and risk failure. The best way to go about making sure you don't fail is the same way you progress to the next stage of change and deal the cards in your own favor. It starts by making a plan for action.

I want to lose weight becomes, 'I'm going to the gym 3 times per week'

I want to get healthy becomes, 'I'm going to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables per day'

These changes are now actionable. There is a clear time-table and specific objectives. By focusing on specific steps it allows us to look just one tiny step ahead. Some goals are big and daunting like losing 50 lbs or making $1 million. The only way to get there is to break up these goals into tiny, actionable chunks.

When we are in the midst of a battle, we can become discouraged by the enormity of the task. While completing a degree, or doing a hard set of kettlebell swings, if you look at the big picture you can lose your focus. Imagine climbing the world's tallest ladder. How do you get to the top? Don't look down. Don't notice where you are, just keep your head down and go one step at a time.

The same is true of our goals. Looking at the big picture helps us to create actionable goals, but then it's time to look only at the small steps that will get us there. While trying to lose weight, just worry about the next workout. While completing a hard set, just worry about the next rep. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish, by setting the big goal, and then focusing on the little steps to create a big change.