Spring has arrived here in North America, and the winds of change are blowing all over your cities, states and our country. It’s a time when many people are looking to renew commitments, make new decisions, and achieve more and better things in their personal lives.
Making positive changes can be difficult if you feel you don’t have enough control over your life. Since our lives are the result of our long-term behaviors, you can take control of your life by making positive changes to your behavior patterns.
Following these strategies will make it easier to change your behaviors and exert more control over your experiences:
- Make the new behavior as enjoyable and positive as possible. For instance, you might dislike exercising, but if you could find a way to make it more enjoyable, you would partake more often in this healthy activity. Maybe you could exercise with a friend or discover a new form of exercise that you enjoy.
- The more agreeable the new task is to you, the more likely you are to do it, and do it consistently.
- Make a list of the positive benefits you’ll receive. By making a list, you’ll begin to see the task in a more positive light. Come up with as many benefits as you can and keep the list in plain view.
- For example, perhaps you feel like you should eat more nutritiously. Some of the positive aspects of healthier eating might include:
I’ll feel better and have more energy.
My clothes will fit better, and I’ll feel more confident.
I’ll be more attractive, and my self-esteem will increase.
I can play with the kids more easily.
I can go hiking again without tiring half way through the trek.
I’ll feel a sense of pride in my accomplishment.
- Make the decision. Just decide that you’re going to do it; often that’s the hardest part. Making a decision is the first step to accomplishment. Until that point, you’re really just wishing.
- Control your thoughts. If you focus on how much you don’t like doing something, it will be much more difficult to get yourself to do it. Try to catch yourself before you get too far down that road. When a negative thought like this arises, substitute a new thought from the list you made in step #2.
- The more incentive you have, the more likely you are to be successful.
- For example, if you spend all your time focused on how good you’re going to look and feel after eating well for three months, your odds of success go up considerably. On the other hand, if you spend all your time thinking negatively, what do you think the outcome will be?
- Reward yourself afterwards. A little reward can go a long way. So, after a new behavior has taken root, do something nice for yourself. More importantly, be proud of yourself for following through on any behavior that improves your life.
- Be diligent. While getting started is often the most difficult part, it can be easy to backslide if you get distracted and stop paying attention. Every day, review how you did. How successful were you with exhibiting the new behavior? Each moment you spend measuring your progress serves as a daily reminder. This will help solidify the behavior.
Changing behaviors can be challenging, but it can improve your life in the long-term. Examine which behaviors you might want to alter to take your life to the next level, and then apply the process above. Be patient with yourself – you may have been doing something a certain way for many years. Some things will take time to change, but you can do it!