Article composed by Pavelka expert Ruth Randall
When you want to change a habit or change a behaviour that doesn’t serve you, it can seem like a huge challenge. Try these seven simple steps to help you make those positive changes.
Get to know your ‘why’: Be clear on your motivations for change. What is it that you want to start doing or stop doing, and what difference will changing that behaviour make in your life. Know your ‘why’ and what it will bring you, and stay focused on that. Really drill down into the benefits that these changes will have, and use that as your motivation to stay focused.
One change at a time: If you try to make too many life changes at the same time, it can feel too overwhelming and will be more difficult to stay on track. Our habits and behaviours are usually supporting us in some way, even if it’s unhealthy. So if you try to remove all of that support in one go, you’re going to find it a struggle. Use the confidence you gain from changing one habit or behaviour, and build on that success.
Start Small: Give yourself the opportunity to achieve quick wins which will keep you motivated. If you wanted to run a marathon you would start with running short distances first of all. So whatever the habit or behaviour you want to change, set small achievable goals and build it up gradually.
Understand what drives the behaviour: Get to know yourself really well, what drives the behaviour or triggers the habit. Our behaviours often have more than one trigger, or solve a problem for us, even if it might be in an unhealthy way. Be honest with yourself and write down all your drivers and triggers, so you know what to expect.
Have a plan and track your progress: Write down your plan and stick to it. Make sure it’s realistic, and have points along the way where you can check in and either acknowledge your success, or review your plan if things aren’t working.
Know what you’re going to do when it gets difficult: Once you know what triggers your behaviour and what you gain from it, you can see where you’re likely to slip up or fall into old patterns. Write these down and have a solution or back-up plan ready for each one. If you are aware of what might get in your way, you can be ready to deal with it.
Have some accountability: The reason group programs are so popular with people making lifestyle changes is because they really work. Have an accountability partner, join a peer support group or work with a coach.
Finally, if it gets tough, focus on your ‘why’, be careful of the language you use with yourself, remember to take it one step at a time, and ask for help when you need it.