If you want to change your life for good although you may see results, willingness is not enough to sustain those changes. Lifelong changes require a more profound way to make these changes stick. Here are 5 ways to make self-improvement stick.
An APA (American Psychological Association) poll conducted by Harris interactive back in March 2010 showed how less than 1 in 5 adults (16%) reported they were “successful at making health-related improvements such as losing weight (20%), starting a regular exercise program (15%), eating a healthier diet (10%) and reducing stress (7%) ….”. And it goes on to show that in spite of these efforts, approximately three-quarters (78%) of the people who made a health-related goal stated that “significant obstacles block them from making progress. Specifically, willpower (33%), making changes alone (24%), and experiencing too much stress (20%).
The reason why I share this poll this to illustrate how making simple or even drastic changes, willpower, or any of the things that we think will sustain the self-improvement changes we make along are not enough.
It is for this reason that I want to encourage a different, more profound way in order to create long-lasting self-improvement changes that you are seeking.
So, let’s get started.
1. Know the deeper why.
A lot of times, the reason why our why isn’t enough to push in the direction that we want to go is that it is superficial rather than the deep, meaningful why.
It is your deeper why that will keep you going even when you don’t feel like doing what it is that you must do in order to have that which you want. The way you get to your deeper why is by asking yourself why it is that you want what you want and question the answer you receive.
For instance, I will use myself and my current weight loss journey as an example. Initially, the reason why I wanted to lose weight is that I want to feel better about my body. Why? Because before I weighed much less than what I weigh now. And why does this matter? Because I want my body back. And why does this matter? Because I want to lose all the weight I gained due to all the grieving, sadness, and guilt I felt (that’s a whole different story). So basically, my current weight loss represents me shedding, not just pounds, but all that lead me to gain the weight in the first place.
As you can see, my weight loss journey has a much more profound reason that helps me stick to it than just “I want a nice body”. The deeper why will be your fuel, especially when you will either want to quit or don’t feel like doing what you know you need to do.
2. Have a vision.
It is not enough to just be determined to have that which you want, you need to have a vision. A vision is so much more than just a dream or a desire. Whenever I mention a vision, I am referring to you being able to see yourself crystal clear with that which you desire.
It’s as if it’s a done deal already, it’s a reality although it’s not in your current reality. When you can see yourself clearly with that self-improvement change that you desire, you can get yourself to step into the version of that person who already has that which you want.
Again, I will use myself as an example and weight loss since this is something that so many people can relate to, and please note that this goes for any changes that you want to make in your life.
I weigh 120 pounds already in my vision. Although I currently weigh 127 pounds, what I weigh is 120, and therefore, I act like a person who weighs that amount. I am disciplined in my eating, I work out regularly, I manage my stress and that’s because I see very clearly the version of me who has the body that I want. So, it’s a matter of a short time for me to bend reality because I am being the person who weighs what I want to weigh because it is not a dream, it is a vision- a done deal.
When you least expect it, you will have that which you want. The reason why this makes your changes long-lasting is that you are being the person who has the very things you want as opposed to you viewing what you want as something distant. When something feels distant, we are more likely to give in to immediate gratification as opposed to if we feel we already have that which we want, so it feels close.
3. Create the environment that supports the change.
Once you know your deeper why and you have that vision, it’s time to eliminate any distraction or anything that doesn’t support the changes you want to make.
When I mention environment here, this goes not just for your home, but for any place where you spend the most time or any environment, you may find yourself in. According to an article of the University of Minnesota Taking Charge of Your Health & Well-Being: How Does Your Personal Environment Impact Your Well-Being? it stated that your home and work environment can impact your mood, your behavior & motivation to act, among other things.
So, your environment plays a critical role in determining how you feel, which impacts the decisions you make, which impacts your quality of life.
Some ways that you can ensure you are creating an environment that supports the changes you want: 1. Make sure you have things that encourage the changes you want; 2. Either has pictures or objects that lift your mood so you can ensure you are encouraged to make healthy decisions in favor of what you want; 3. Have statements or affirmations that remind you of truths; 4. Have reminders of how capable & strong you are; 5. Make sure you stock your fridge & pantry with healthy foods; 6. Pack your meals everywhere you go. The list goes on, so choose & create ways that work for you.
4. Surround yourself with people who support your vision.
Never underestimate the amount of influence that the people around you have in your life. With this said, it’s going to be important that you surround yourself with people who can support you in your journey to having that which you want.
Choose who you will be around wisely. If you want to lose weight, it will be crucial that you surround yourself with people who are also on that same journey. Perhaps you have a specific financial goal, surround yourself with people who have a higher level of wealth consciousness that can encourage you in your vision.
Sometimes, dreams suffer an early fate because of the people that we surround ourselves with. Do yourself and your vision a favor and pay close attention to who you have around you.
5. Be on the lookout for mini progress rather than big results.
Sometimes what trips us up so much is the fact that we can get laser-focused on the big results that when we don’t see them, we get discouraged and stop midway from reaching our goals.
The way you prevent this is by being on the lookout for mini progress rather than big results. For instance, if it’s weight loss, notice how you are more energized, you can walk more easily, you are able to lift heavier than before, your legs are getting a bit skinnier as opposed to not seeing the 10 pounds off your body.
This applies to anything you are wanting to change in your life, not just weight loss. So, if it’s business, notice how you are getting better at copywriting, for instance, how you are getting clearer on who your ideal client is, how clear you are on what you offer, how now you are booking more discovery calls, etc.
The purpose of all these five ways is to get you to perceive the self-improvement changes you want in a totally different light. A different perspective allows space for expansion. Instead of focusing on things having to be a certain way or time frame this mindset puts an end to yo-yo-ing on the changes you want to implement. Make a decision and stick with it.
Follow these 5 suggestions I and you will be well on your way to changes that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the journey you are on and grow in massive, unexpected ways.
Aura E. Martinez is a Self-Discovery & Empowerment Coach, creator of the Aura Blueprint™ and author of the book Creating a Lifetime of Wellness: Start Having the Life You Deserve. Aura helps women gain total clarity in their purpose so they can wake up to a life of daily fulfillment and certainty. She is also the founder of Live to the Max™/Viva al máximo™.
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