Are you one of the many people who have the motivation yet struggle to make changes to your life? Changes that you want to make and know are the ‘right’ thing for you to do………
……make time for your physical health and mental well being, address a difficult relationship, make changes to your career or business….
….worrying what people will think, trying not to upset anyone else going over and over every ‘what if’, wanting permission from someone, waiting for the perfect moment, looking for the quick fix or delaying until you feel more sure of yourself…
the list of reasons that we don’t make changes is endless.
So, imagine you want to lose 2 stones.
We all know that the best way to lose weight is to do it steadily and achieving weight loss at 1lb a week is far more likely to succeed, and be sustainable, in the long run.
However, you, like the rest of us, want to achieve your ideal weight in week. So, you go on an extreme diet and starve yourself or eat food you don’t like, and can only maintain it for a few days before you succumb and go on a binge.
You wait to reward yourself until you have lost the whole two stone and completely disregard those small daily achievements – or worse, criticise yourself for ONLY managing one day on the diet, or only walking for 20 minutes when you ‘should have done an hour’ etc etc…
………and guess what, you feel worse about yourself, less motivated and lose your motivation to achieve anything at all!
The trouble is we ignore those small steps and don’t reward ourselves for them. Treat those small steps as the quick fix, give yourself a pat on the back every time you make even a tiny change and you are well on your way to building the confidence and motivation you need to make the changes that you want.
Learning to take small steps is a practical way of making lasting changes. You feel positive and energised, motivated to make more change rather than defeated and negative. The change becomes enjoyable and you can stop destructive patterns of behaviour that keep you stuck.
This a powerful tool as it simply builds your confidence. REMEMBER SMALL CHANGES GET BIG RESULTS. Changing what you do has a big effect on the way you think, the way you feel and what you believe yourself capable of.
How to turn those small steps into giant leaps:
Be in the Here and Now
Be in the here and now and involved in the process of an activity and not focused on how you will feel when you have achieved the outcome.
The reason that goals setting doesn’t work ( except for the very motivated and confident) is that you are always going to feel good sometime in the future (when you have reached your goal).That means in this moment you continue to feel the way you do. How you feel doesn’t change.
You can only feel what you feel now. You cannot feel how you might feel in an hour, or three hours, tomorrow or next week.
Of course we need to plan and look forward, but only doing that means that you don’t notice the small changes and very often never reach the place when you will allow yourself to feel better because there are more goals to met first.
So, to follow with the weight loss example.
I say to myself that I will feel happy when I reach 10 stone. In the meantime I am not happy until I reach that weight. That magical moment when I am going to be happy stays in the future.’ I will’ (the future tense) are the words to look out for and change to I am……
Even if I do reach my ideal weight there will still be more things I want to change AND THEN I will be happy – a new wardrobe, a different job, a more attentive partner etc etc.
Using small steps means that I make myself food that I enjoy eating, I notice small changes in how my body feels, and acknowledge the small successes.
Fixing yourself in the present and enjoying the process In the words of a cliché – means that you can’ enjoy the journey’, and not wait until we reach your destination before you start to enjoy life.
Improve your Motivation
When you are enjoying what you are doing at this very moment, you will feel energised and become more motivated as a result. You are far more likely to be able to sustain the energy and effort you need to make in order to bring about the success you desire. The good feelings you get will make you want more of it and increase your motivation. Even if you change your goal or don’t reach your destination it doesn’t matter you will be happy anyway!
Make Tasks Manageable
Make one change at a time. Keep things manageable and realistic. Small steps and being in the present stop the’ if’s and but’s’ that fuel the anxiety that will stop you from doing anything because of what might ( all unknown of course) happen.
By taking small steps one at a time and really being in the here and now you can monitor your progress and decide what is working and what isn’t working quite so well.
By become aware in this way, this tool lends itself to flexibility and you can adapt what you are doing much more easily to ensure a successful outcome. In addition any ‘failures’ can be overcome and faced more easily as they are small.
Be very clear about your end goal and the steps you need to achieve on the way
Clarity is key to all success.Be very specific about what you want to achieve. Remember WHY you want to make this change and have an image or sentence written down somewhere that you will see it often.
Taking very small baby steps AND REWARDING YOURSELF FOR EACH SMALL ACCOMPLISHMENT is far more likely to mean that you will achieve something than nothing. It is the achievement that helps you to build your motivation and lift your mood.
Have realistic expectations.
I am constantly amazed by the impossible expectations people have for themselves and other people. Know your limitations and be honest with yourself about what is possible for you at this time.
‘I am calm’, rather than, ‘I want to get everyone to agree to ……. ‘ ( may be impossible to get everyone to agree)
‘ I am calm’, rather than, ‘I will not lose my temper’ (your brain won’t hear the word ‘not’ in that sentence)
‘I am calm’ and ‘listen to what he thinks’, rather than, ‘I am going to be calm and make sure he listens to me’ ( you cannot make anyone listen to you)
You do not need to know the final destination to take the first small step.
When you have taken that first step you will be in a different place. You will have a new perspective and some more information to help you take the next step.
I heard a great story. You can drive a car from one side of America to the other, in the dark and only be able to see a couple of hundred yards ahead. You see the first 200 yards and then the next and then the next. In this way you can travel a huge distance without having to be able to see the whole way, or even be able see your destination.
So………you can take one step at a time without necessarily being able to see all the way. All you need to know is the first step and the next will be revealed and so on.
Want to know how to make small steps work for you? Book your free 40 minute clarity session and get off to a flying start.