HOW TO “GET OFF THE FENCE” AND REACH YOUR GOALS
There are certain constants in our lives—things that we can absolutely count on. Paying taxes is a constant most of us share, while running into the neighborhood gossip at the store, when I have my hair haphazardly pulled back, no make-up on and in sweats, is one I can personally count on. (I don’t know why I tempt fate.)
These things aside, many people (and you can count me in) believe that one of the few things that can be counted on in life is change. Think about it—most things are in a constant flux. Yet, as common and predictable change is, many are not comfortable with it. Those in the “I hate change” crowd either try to fight it tooth-and-nail or let it get the best of them. Let’s face it, we’re going to confront the need to make changes throughout our life whether we like it or not. The end result will be how we approach each change from the very beginning.
John Galbraith once stated that ‘when people are given a choice between changing and proving that change is not necessary, most get busy with the proof.‘ People do what they know until they learn something new. And that’s what changing our behaviors is about—learning something new and making adjustments.
When we’re faced with trying new things and making changes, such as those involved with the weight-loss process, we usually go into it in one of three ways:
- We’re not ready to change. Case closed!
- We’re ambivalent about it – Hesitant, undecided, maybe doubtful that we can do it.
- We are gung-ho to take change on. Baby, we are ready!
For those who can identify with #1 or #3, you have already chosen your end-result. It’s for those who are ambivalent about change (#2) , that this post is targeting.
People who are ambivant about making a change to their life are open to the possibilty, but still on the fence. We’ve all been there, one time or another, when dealing with change. When we’re hesitant, though, our contempletation can land us in one of two places: back to “no way” (#1) or “I’m ready” (#3.) When it comes to making those lifestyle changes necessary to get to a healthier weight, it’s important to move up to the 3rd decision, or we’re going to fall back to the first. The question is “how?”
The first thing you’ve got to ask yourself and really take time to think about is, “Why SHOULD I make the changes to my life?” Maybe it’s because you’re just sick and tired of being overweight. Maybe it’s because being overweight is causing you to feel sick and tired. Whatever it is, think about and list all the reasons why you want to get to a healthier BMI. Be specific. If they pertain to you personally, list things like, “I want to be able to walk a mile or two without getting winded,” or “I want to try to get off some medications ,” or even,” I want to wear trendy clothes that I feel and look great in.”
After you make your list of all the reasons you should adopt healthier habits like eating right and moving more, I hope you start to feel excited about what making these changes will mean to you. It’s pretty exciting stuff! Don’t underplay it!
The next step is to really decide what changes you’re WILLING to make. At this phase, it’s so very important to get rid of negative thinking. Maybe you tried to lose weight in the past and failed. So what! This time is different and you need to tap into the inner power you have to succeed this time around. You have it…let it loose!
Ask yourself, “What can I do that will get me to my goal?” Start listing. “Hey, I will exercise a half-hour almost every day by getting up a little earlier each morning,” or “I will pull out all stops each week to make sure I get to my Weight Watchers meeting, even if it means paying a babysitter for an hour or taking the kids with me to a “Parents and Tots” meeting.” Think about and journal everything you’re willing and can do. Be specific, realistic, creative and positive. Let your powerful self take charge!
Now you’re ready for the final step, which, by the way, will take you immediately from being on the fence to option 3. The question you now need to answer is, “When?” “Someday” just isn’t going to cut it! Be specific about your commitment to behaviors you’re willing to change. Here are some ideas: “Tomorrow I will take a mile walk,” or “I’m going to write out a grocery list right now so I can be ready, willing and able to shop more healthfully when I go to the grocery store tonight.”
There you have it! By sitting down and taking the time to answer three basic questions, (“Why should I make the change”, “What am I willing to change,” and “When will I make these changes”), you’ve moved out of the Ambivalent phase and into the “Baby, I’m so ready” phase!” You’re already on your way to reaching your goals. Sure, there will be times in the process that you might have self-doubt or slip-up. It’s normal. When this happens, brush yourself off, go back to this simple exercise and keep your focus.
“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” – Tuli Kupferberg