Many people reach the point where they want to make changes to their lifestyle. That could be to get fitter, be healthier, improve their diet etc. But, making changes is hard! So how can give ourselves a better chance of success?
Lets face it you are trying to break your long standing bad habits and replace them with better choices. We’ve probably all been there before. We set ourselves a goal of some sort, but we struggle, fall short or let it slip away. Acknowledging that its going to be tough can be an important part of success. It can help you move forward and plan for the changes you want to make. It can also make you think about likely challenges and problems ahead – and come up with way to avoid or address them when they do crop up.
So here are my thoughts to help to plan for and achieve success with whatever changes and improvements you are looking to make to improve your health and fitness.
10 tips for making successful changes
- Reflect – think about on your past successes and achievements, or what you have achieved in the last year. This will remind you that you can do what you set your mind to. It should also help you to understand what works best for you. Equally importantly its worth reflecting on some previous failures to know what doesn’t work for you.
- Know your motivation – we all have different reasons for the changes we want to make in our lives which will be personal and meaningful to us. If you know why you are making changes, you are more likely to stick with them.
- Set clear goals – unless you know what you are are aiming for it is difficult to make a plan to be achieve this. (See my blog on ‘Goal Setting‘)
- Have a plan – take some time to plan how you are going to achieve your goals. This means planning for the long term to ensure you keep progressing towards your goals. It also mean planning for the short term (say weekly) on the details of what you are doing to make progress.
- Small changes are still progress – sometimes we want to change everything at once. But making dramatic changes in a number of areas can be difficult to sustain. Gradually introducing small changes can be easier to do and to sustain. These little changes can add up to significant changes over the longer term. While we’d like quick results, long term change should be the ultimate aim.
- Get support – enlist the help and support of family or friends. It’s easier to make changes in your life and keep on track with a good support network around you. Also letting people know about your goals can increase your commitment to these.
- Track your progress – find a way to keep a track of your progress to help motivate you and remind you of the progress you have made.
- Reward yourself – make sure you celebrate your progress and reward yourself. Planning in advance how you will treat yourself can help strengthen your motivation and ensure that your rewards are in keeping with the changes you are making rather than a potential opportunity to lapse back to old behaviours.
- Lapses are normal – changing your behaviour isn’t easy or a quick fix. Most people will have some sort of lapse or weakening of their resolve while they are trying to change their habits. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a change. But if you know it is normal to lapse you can anticipate potential problems, plan for ways to avoid these or ways to re-focus when they do happen. So a lapse isn’t the end of the world so, if you have had a bad day tomorrow is a another day and a fresh opportunity to get back on track and stay there.
- Stay positive – making changes in your behaviours and habits isn’t easy and sticking with them is even harder. Know it is going to be tough sometimes and keep a positive outlook.
Good luck with whatever changes that you want to make.