How do you feel about change? Is there something in your life which you know you need to change? What is holding you back?
Change is an inevitable and constant part of life and whilst change can sometimes feel scary or too hard, resistence to change or to moving forwards can keep you feeling stuck, overwhelmed, unmotivated and unispired.
Change gets a bad rap with 'change is hard' being a common belief which can become limiting, keeping you stuck through fear of the overwhelm or potential discomfort of change. Change can feel uncertain and can stir up our fears of the unknown or our fears of possible failure. But change can also be incredibly motivating, refreshing, empowering and freeing. It can be inspiring, energising and uplifting. There is that other common saying that 'a change is as good as a holiday!'.
A big part of my work with women is helping them to make the changes which they need or want to make to allow them to enjoy greater health, wellbeing and life balance.
My philosophy is that although it can sometimes feel a little uncomfortable or 'new', change doesn't have to be hard or overwhelming and that it is possible to formulate a plan which feels manageable and is individually tailored to that woman, her goals, her lifestyle and what will work best for her.
There is no point complaining about things, whether it is our health or our weight or other aspects of our lives if we do not consider what we can do to change the situation, whether that change is through an action or through choosing to view something differently, through forgiving someone for something, through setting a boundary or letting go of something which no longer serves you through making a plan of action steps and taking the first step..
Why do you want this change? What will it mean for you?
When you know that something needs to change, it can be helpful to consider WHY you want to change this, what that change will potentially mean for you and how you will feel as a consequence. When we connect with something on an emotional level and know WHY we want to change or achieve something, it can help us to remain more motivated to take the action steps which will move us towards it.
One thing at a time
Most of us do better with creating change if we attempt to just change one or two things at a time. Whilst it can be sometimes get to the point where we feel fed up and exclaim something along the lines of 'right, thats it, I'm overhauling my entire life!!' ( and sometimes this all-or-nothing, total life change approach actually does work) for most of us, breaking things down into smaller, actionable steps is often more effective than trying to do too much and then becoming overwhelmed and not being able to keep any of it up so you miss out on reaping the rewards of those initial action steps through not being able to sustain them..
Even if you have a long list of things that you would like to change, prioritise and just choose a couple of things to focus on at a time. Then break those chosen things into small action steps that you can begin taking.
How to set goals or create stress-free action steps to meet your goals
Once you are clear on your goal and WHY you want to achieve it, you can begin creating an action plan of steps that you will take that will take you towards your goal. Be realistic. Don't put any steps on there that you already know that you won't really do!
The S.M.A.R.T goal model can be very helpful when creating a new habit or initiating change of any sort.
The actions that you are going to take need to be Specific (what do I want to achieve?, what is my goal?).
They need to be Measureable ( how can I measure my progress or see that things are improving? How often will I do this step?).
They need to be Achievable (What are the steps that I can take to achieve this? What actions will take me towards my goal?).
They need to be Realistic/Relevant. (Is this realistic for me? If not, what would be more realistic?)
They need to be Time-Specific. (How long will I do this? When will I do this?) Making a goal time-specific isn't to put pressure on you or make feel like you have failed if you don't achive it within a certain time-frame, but most of us benefit from setting a realistic time frame for ourselves in which we will do something. Although we don't want to feel contricted, having no time frame is often too open ended.
An example might be:
Goal: I want to cut back on how much chocolate I am eating because I know that I am overdoing it and the sugar isn't good for me.
Initial action plan to achieve goal, broken down in to steps: Reduce chocolate intake from daily (4 rows of milk chocolate each evening) to 2 squares of good quality dark chocolate each evening. Really enjoy these 2 squares and practise mindfulness if still seeking more after this eg. ask myself the question "Do I really need more?" "Does it positively serve me to have more?" .
After this the next step is to: aim to reduce chocolate further so that it is not a nightly habit. Reducing it to just two squares, going for a healthier version and practising mindfulness will help me to break my current habit and create a new one which better supports my goals without having to give up something that I love (feeling deprived doesn't work!). Practising mindfullness throughout will help me to know when I really want to treat myself to the chocolate and when I'm wanting it just out of habit or for more emotional reasons.
We are now almost halfway through the year! How have you gone with those goals or intentions which you may have set for yourself at the beginning of 2017? Is it time to review them and create some new intentions or goals for the second part of the year?
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