A Trio for Effective Change

Are you planning to make a change in yourself? Today, let’s take a look at some vital tips on how to go about getting the best results.

Maybe you want to lose weight, get into good physical shape, or quit smoking. Maybe you’d like to learn to do something new, or do something you already do a little bit better. Maybe you want to work on your anger, like we talked about yesterday. Whatever it is you want to do, there are three things we now know about self-directed change that can help you.

First, set goals that aren’t too big, too difficult, or too distant. Your long-term goal may be to lose 50 pounds by next summer, but a better goal might be to lose somewhere between 5 and 10 this month (remember to be specific about the number). Next, carefully monitor yourself so you always know how you’re doing. Record your weight daily. Keep track of everything you eat and what you do to burn calories. Remember, “What gets measured, gets done.”

By the way, don’t waste energy beating yourself up when you slip or fail. It turns out the kind of feedback that works the best is the kind that emphasizes what you are doing right, not how you blew it. And we do seem to learn more, and sustain the learning, from our mistakes. Keep your focus on the goal, that picture of exactly what you want to achieve.

Finally, reward yourself for reaching minor goals and give yourself meaningful incentives to keep going. Short-term goals, careful monitoring, and rewards and incentives are three things that help you to change.

One more thought and it may be the most important of all: believe in your ability to achieve your goal. If you don’t believe you can lose five pounds in 30 days, you won’t put much energy into trying. And the chances of falling back onto old habits are pretty strong. So go ahead, and start now. Get after those changes you want!