How To Change

Dan Heath of FastCompany gives us a great overview on why change is so hard. Watch the video and then I’ll explain how to create change and move beyond the barrier of exhaustion, laziness, sabotage or whatever you want to call it.

While exerting self-control to bring about a habit change can be exhausting, people do have the ability to ultimately create the change they so intensely desire. Not everyone will because they don’t understand how to get through the exhaustion effectively and they get stuck in a vicious circle of attempting self-control and then burning out. The Achilles heel keeping one stuck I believe is “trying too hard.”

To prevent this vicious circle take over, I believe there is a continuation to the story that Heath of Fast Company shares. Change does happen. It is possible and we’ve all seen it and perhaps even done it. So what is the difference between those who stay stuck in exhaustion and those who make the change? First, I encourage you to explore that question on their own. For your answers will be most important and instrumental in ultimate positive and “permanent” change.

I have developed the 3 P’s for for positive permanent change: Possibility, Pacing, and Perseverance.

When you desire to change, if you are crystal clear that it is possible and you create a belief that one way or another the results you seek can be attained, you are in a state of possibility. When one holds the intention, vision and/or possibility of what they want (the habit they want to create, the desired outcome, etc), there are a few things to keep in mind that will energize and enable you to stay connected to that state.

First, no matter what your actions may be with respect to you goal, stay as far away from negative assessment of yourself. Self-criticism, judgment is your biggest saboteur. Instead remind yourself of the following, you are undergoing a process of change, your goal is possible, therefore, give yourself an emotional break. Your awareness of your actions is key. Without judging them, you learn about yourself and make decisions in alignment with what you authentically need to recuperate and the next action that will help you take a step closer to feeling good about yourself and your goal. Thus, your vision/intention/possibility/goal can be used to make recuperation time shorter.

Next, remember to pace yourself. Attaining your goal is not about exertion. Rather it’s about knowing yourself and moving toward that goal in a way that helps you build stamina. You do need to practice “eating radishes” and be careful not to over do it. Your stamina will build over time until it’s a habit. Getting over the hump is the key. For example, a runner who is training for a marathon, has a process for getting through their limitations. You can actually look up a protocol for “how to train for a marathon” and you will see you start with a 3 mile run the first day and a 2 mile run the second day. There are rest days and then increase days. For some, pre-training is recommended to be able to get up to 30 minutes of running. There are training programs that are 12 weeks and others that are 6 months. Are you getting the idea? You need to know yourself, understand what “fitness” level your at with regard to the vision you have and then design (mentally or literally) a way to increase your stamina.

Finally, as Winston Churchil said, “Never, never, never, never give up.” If your vision is that important to you, the journey is as important. Some ways you can ensure that you preserve is to ask for help, engage an accountability partner and/or put something very important at stake. Do it for someone or a cause. When you know in your soul that “Failure is not an option,” you will prevail.

You are worth it and you can do it. Believe in yourself. Be kind to yourself and learn how to create the change. You will be enhancing the positive energy in your community just by taking care of yourself and taking your next step forward with awareness, confidence and trust.

To learn more about Dan Heath and his research on change, check out his book Switch.