Change is hard. Whether you’re trying to make a lifestyle or career change or quit a bad habit, it can be difficult to make the necessary changes to achieve your desired result. Take your health, for example. Say your doctor recommends that you lose a few pounds for optimal health, and you both decide that means losing ten pounds. So you choose to eat healthier and exercise, which you do for a few days before you fall back into old habits and decide it’s too hard, so you’ll live with the extra weight.
So why is it that we struggle to make changes even when we know they’ll contribute to our success? A big reason is that we often see change as a single result. We think we make one change today, and that’s it, but that’s rarely the cause. Changing our behavior is a gradual process that requires our continuous attention. Our perception of change significantly affects how successful we are in achieving our goals.
There are a few ways we can set ourselves up to make changes successfully. The next time you’re confronted with making a change, try these tips.
Know Your Why
As with many things in life, knowing why you’re doing something can propel you in the right direction. Keeping your good intentions and purpose front of mind will help you to refocus when you stray off track (because it’s bound to happen) and when you want to quit. Remember your reason for wanting to make the change and revisit it often.
When we associate change with negative emotions, like difficult or expensive, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Reframe your way of thinking and consider the change as rewarding or as an investment instead. Keeping a positive mindset will help you take on the challenge with excitement instead of dread.
When making changes, like in the health example above, we’ve been known to bite off more than we can chew, which sets us up for failure. Starting with small actionable steps helps us make progress toward change and makes us more likely to stick with it. Instead of saying you’re going to overhaul your diet and workout daily, try saying you’re going to eat three servings of vegetables today and go for a 15-minute walk. Once you’ve mastered those changes, make a few more small ones, and before you know it, you’ll have made more progress than you think.
Failure is a part of the journey. The sooner we accept it, the sooner we can overcome it. Get accustomed to failing, readjusting, refocusing, and moving forward. Don’t let one failure or setback keep you from making a change to better yourself or your career. Reframe your thinking to see failure as a learning opportunity.
Stick to It
No matter how big or small, change is difficult, and more importantly, it’s a process. Remember to stick to it. Change won’t happen overnight. Often, it won’t even happen in a week or even a month. Keep your why in mind and keep moving forward. It may seem hard today, but every day you work toward your goal, it’ll get a little easier until it feels second nature.
Change is uncomfortable. It’s challenging and messy, and it takes a lot of work. But if you really want it and commit to it, we promise it’s worth it.