Five Steps Towards Positive Change So often it seems like a great idea to make a decision to change or move forward, yet the tendency not to follow through on resolutions is the main reason for not achieving them. The decision making process is an achievement in itself, then the commencement of new habits is another struggle, but it is too easy to slip back into old habits and old ways.
- Step one of the Five Step Method is to Envision the New Self after having achieved ones objective; whether it be a new thinner person; a new richer person; a new calmer person. This is a form of visualization that helps us to recreate our reality based on our goals, that we turn into reality over time. When we think of ourselves clearly in this vision, we should be enthusiastic – look forward to this goal but feel the experience NOW . It may not solve all of our problems, but any improvement in our lives is a GOOD THING.
- Create Positive Pressure. Pressure helps us to achieve great things, but there is a difference between positive and negative pressure. When we have our back against the wall, it is easier to push forward. What are the options? One way to build positive pressure is making a “public pledge”. Tell everyone you know that you will lose the muffin top, or write the novel or run the 10K. Once the goal is made public, there is a certain amount of pressure to work towards its fulfillment since no one likes to look like a failure.
- Attach a Timeline to our goal. To make it happen, add a timeline. A goal that is not committed to paper is no goal at all, so it helps to keep a journal and to make regular entries about your progress. This creates a dialog with yourself and clears your head so you can get to work. It can unblock negativity, and if one day the only action taken to achievement of the goal is a journal entry, that is good enough.
- Commit to the Magic Rule of 21. If an action is performed 21 days in a row then it becomes a habit. In the same way that bad habits seem to be irremovable, they can always be replaced. In this sense, the replacement of a bad habit requires a certain amount of energy be focused towards a new or good habit, so that a shift is created to allow a certain “unbalance” in the psyche, which allows the positive change. Whether is it brushing our teeth three times a day, going running before work, waking up an hour earlier in order to meditate in the morning, or cutting out unhealthy foods, after twenty one days of regular ritual, this will become a part of our routine.
- Enjoy the Process. If I don’t have some degree of fun or feeling of fulfillment on my way towards achieving my goals (even if it is somewhat masochistic) there is really no point in my taking the first step. There has to be payoff. Living with exhilaration is important; we are not here to punish ourselves, and self-improvement does not mean self-flagellation. If we can have passion and maintain our goals at the forefront of our mind, then there is nothing we cannot achieve. Sometimes we may waver, but discipline keeps us on track. Single mindedness is not obsession; focus need not be blind focus; discipline need not be compulsiveness. In attempting to maintain reachable goals, there always needs to be balance, and therein lies the secret to successful and happy positive living. Or so I am told.