18 December 2009, by A. Cedilla
Recapping the previous parts of this small series of articles, the first two stages on the way to making lasting change involves contemplation, analyzing what you need and want to change in your life to make it better, and then accepting that you’re going to encounter problems and resistance on the way.
The final stage is taking action.
Here now are the last two steps:
6. Practice, practice, practice.
Lather, rinse, repeat. After all, what is practice except constant repetition of a particular action? The resistance will come out in full force at this stage, and now it’s up to you to bear the discomfort as you train yourself to do what it takes to make your desired changes stick.
This includes not letting things distract you from taking the steps you need to take towards your goal, like your old habit of hitting the snooze button (even though you set your clock 15 minutes early so it’s okay, you know, there’s still time, sheesh.) in favor of actually getting up so you can do what needs to be done: exercise, write your novel, whatever.
One part of successful practice is keeping track of your efforts. Write them down. Write them down so you can establish a record, and see your progress (a very important psychological boost).
People who’ve successfully managed to bring their weight down and maintain know their numbers. When they couldn’t see very big changes at the start, they still knew that they were keeping track, and as time passed and the weight started to come off, the changes they could only track on paper they could now see in the flesh, so to speak.
Tracking your progress keeps you focused even when you don’t see or feel the changes taking place. Note, jot down, capture, log your efforts.
Keep at it until the discomfort fades into a background hum you can set aside as you focus on getting closer to your goal of successful change.
7. Enjoy the long-term rewards.
Long-term presupposes that you’ve been keeping at it over time. If you’re only just starting out on what seems to be an impossible task, the thought of all that time required can be discouraging. In which case, we advise you to start at the end and work your way back.
In any case, the whole intent of changing is to make a bad, tolerable or average situation a better one, and once you’ve achieved that, then you should take real time to celebrate, share and enjoy the results of all your hard work.
We leave you now with some advice that will help you keep everything in perspective.
“Pursue goals, but be sure to reassess your progress and your priorities at regular intervals to prevent yourself from becoming trapped in a reality that is nothing like your dreams”
–John D. Krumboltz and Al S. Levin in their book, “Luck Is No Accident“
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