The road to positive change isn’t always easy. We are going to run into potholes and cracked pavement along the way. So today, let’s talk about ways to strengthen your will to change, ways that go far beyond New Year’s resolutions – especially the ones you made a few weeks ago, and have already abandoned.
Okay, you’ve decided to change something about your life. Maybe you’ve decided to lose 20 pounds or run two miles every day or stop smoking. You’ve made your decision and begun the new behavior, you’re affirming it in words and mental pictures several times a day, and things are going great.
Sooner or later, you’re probably going to be tempted to slip back into old ways, especially when you’re feeling tired, lonely or sad. Everybody comes upon these rocks in the road, whenever they are on the path to change. It is then that you need to have a plan ready that will help keep you on track.
One thing you can do is be ready with a list of alternative activities in which you can engage until the temptation passes – someone you can call to give you words of encouragement, a walk around the city or in the woods, maybe a trip to the movies. If you get through the temptation successfully, give yourself a tangible reward for hanging in there. Call it a willpower reward, if you need to. It should be something you will get genuine pleasure from – a gizmo or gadget you’ve been wanting, a music download or movie for your collection, a perfume you’ve been wanting to try, a new pair of shoes. Or it can be an activity – a massage, facial, round of golf, or a couple of hours with a good novel. Whatever you choose, the reward just needs to be meaningful for you.
If you don’t do so well and slip up, forgive yourself. Grant yourself the right to be human, and then get right back on track. We are not talking perfection here; we are talking about fulfilled potential!