Do you want to lose a couple of pounds, improve your health, or maybe change careers? Get rid of the all or nothing attitude. How many times have you started a new diet, a new exercise program, or attempted to learn a new skill just to give it up a week later? This type of behavior makes it difficult to be successful attempting new endeavors or attaining goals.
It can be overwhelming to change behaviors that move us out of the comfort zone, Psychology Today reports, in the article:
5 Benefits of Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Each of us has our own “comfort zone” which, more than an actual place, is a psychological/emotional/ behavioral construct that defines the routine of our daily life. Being in one’s comfort zone implies familiarity, safety, and security. It describes the patterned world of our existence, keeps us relatively comfortable and calm, and helps us stay emotionally even, free from anxiety and worry to a great degree. Creating a comfort zone is a healthy adaptation for much of our lives. But so is stepping out of our comfort zone when it’s time to transition, grow, and transform.
But experiencing a little stress and anxiety now and then is a good thing, too. If all you ever do is strive to stay wrapped up in your little cocoon, keeping warm and cozy, you may be missing out on quite a lot–maybe no new experiences, no challenges, and no risks. And looking at the bigger picture of life, if you can’t step out of your comfort zone you may experience difficulty making change or transitioning, growing, and ultimately, transforming; in other words, all those things that define who you are and give your life personal meaning.
Therefore, it can be uncomfortable and a little frightening to step out of your comfort zone which makes changing an unwanted behavior quite a challenge. We all tend to be drawn towards the familiar: friends, family, home, favorite places, habits, etc.
So what can we do to finally lose those last five pounds, change career paths, finally follow through on resolutions for the new year? Follow these five steps to change:
- Start a journal to jot down all the positive factors of the behavior change in order of importance. Keep your journal handy to review daily and make notes on ideas to facilitate the change. Write down what’s working and any ideas you have on how to incorporate change into your daily routine.
- Do research on the specific behavior that you want to change. Make a plan to journal any ideas you get that will help you reach your goals.
- Determine your NUMBER 1 reason for change and write it down. Put it on the fridge, bathroom mirror, or somewhere you will see it everyday. The will serve as a constant reminder and help you associate behavior change with positive results..
- Write goals according to the SMART acronym that are specific, measurable, relevant and time bound. An article on Mindtools.com lists SMART as an acronym used to help set goals:
“Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) wrote about SMART in an article for The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He stated that SMART has come to mean different things to different people, as shown below.
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)”
5.Visualize success by utilizing a mantra, meditating, or simply imagining how your life will be different once you reach your goal. How will you feel when you try on new clothes after losing 10 lbs? What benefits will you acquire from a consistent exercise program? Imagine walking a flight of stairs without gasping for air or running a race after giving up cigarettes. Success can be yours by working consistently towards your goals. Each day you are successful, you will become stronger, and closer to permanent change.
You can achieve anything with hard work, determination, and a plan. Create specific goals and set a time frame for attaining your desired results. Get rid of the all or nothing attitude and replace it with the mindset of taking one day at a time. Visualize your success and create the life you’ve always dreamed of living. You can do this! For more ideas on how to reach your goals check out my article Visualize it …Then Just Do It!