The New Year is a time when many of us decide things need to change. As you reflect on the year just passed, step onto the scale, pull on a tight pair of jeans or set goals for your career or business, it becomes obvious that doing what you’ve done in the past probably won’t result in the dreams you have for a better future. Change, nevertheless is the hardest thing for most of us to truly embrace. It requires paying attention, letting go of old habits, losing the comfort of the past while stepping into new behaviors that do not yet feel normal.
I am just as guilty as anyone reading this when it comes to procrastination, slacking on my diet during the holidays and making excuses about my own actions. I especially find this happening when I am not involved in teaching the energy coaching principles I know work so well. I too have to wake up, set goals, admit my failures and force myself back on track on a very regular basis. My credibility as a leader, author and expert depends on me walking the walk when it comes to what I teach. Believe me when I say that there are days when I wish I had chosen a less visible occupation!
I have learned over the years that my clients, students and audiences enjoy when I share stories of my failures, goofs and frustrations. These are perhaps the best lessons I can teach. Change is a gift for those who dare to dream. Success after a struggle sure feels important, memorable and makes a great story too.
1. Admit what needs to change, then love, forgive and accept yourself now. You are loveable as you are and once you can fully accept yourself in the present moment, you can more fully connect with what you might do next. For example, I have this pattern of not tracking my food intake and weight watchers points, generally stuffing myself silly with fatty, sugar-filled foods during the week between Christmas and New Years each year, even though it makes me feel horrible and guilty. I could choose to admit it today or wait until some point in the future when none of my clothes fit. Either way, my behavior and choices are my reality. I have clearly been reversed in my thinking and resisting what is most healthy for me. A better affirmation statement for today is:
“Even though I have not tracked my points and eaten way too much rich food lately, I completely love and accept myself and my body anyway.”
2. Choose how you would rather feel, do, be or act. Do you need to change your diet, keep track of a new statistic, write in your journal, get more sleep, make more sales calls or take a daily 30 minute walk? All of those things are choices. Making a clear and conscious choice is empowering and puts you in control. What kind of things will you choose to bring greater control to your situation? Sometimes just one small choice is all you need to act upon. Say it out loud to fully embrace the decision. You might also want to post your choices statement(s) where you can see them throughout your day.
“I choose to eat in a way that fuels my body, demonstrates my value of health and log my weight watchers points in my tracker so that I can look and feel my best.”
“I choose to reach out to at least 3 clients a day by phone.”
“I choose to start each day by drinking 16 ounces of water.”
“I choose to track my savings, expenses and net worth in an excel spreadsheet that is updated every month.”
3. Set realistic goals, apply the change you’ve chosen and ask for support from others. Change can be difficult at first. It takes 3 weeks or so before your change will become a habit. Go into the change process knowing that extra effort will be needed up front. Set short term goals that are realistic and achievable, remembering that a journey is composed of many small steps. Share your goals with someone you trust and who will support you. Better yet, join a group who will support you through the changes and choices you are pursuing.
4. Track and celebrate your successes. Success takes many forms. If you are pursuing a weight loss goal, you may find that there are times when the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. While paying attention to the obvious number on the scale, also notice how you look, feel, how your clothes fit and some pleasant medical test results that are clear reminders of success. In business you may not see sales dollars coming in immediately as you embark on a new marketing program, but you can track meetings scheduled, phone inquiries and referrals as indicators that are creating opportunities for the sale.
5. Share your success process. Eventually you will find that you have made a breakthrough and achieved what you set out to accomplish. Don’t stop there! Many people are struggling and could benefit from what you have learned. Why keep it to yourself? There may be a business opportunity, new product or service that can result from your success. Teaching or mentoring others is one of the best ways to ensure that you stay the course for the long haul while you also help others.
Congratulations on embracing change and considering a new start!