“I know what to do!” I hear this often when I am talking casually to people about things like good nutrition, getting enough sleep and exercise. The conversation starts with someone asking me a question and we start talking about healthy lifestyles. Suddenly, the person says, often with some frustration, “I know what to do, I just don’t do it…” They are stuck.
My next few articles are going to be about how to get unstuck.
I think most of us simply get overwhelmed when we try to change too much at once. Does that sound like you? You set these big, lofty goals, get really excited about them and then, after a week or two they just, well, fizzle out. Sometimes the goal totally drops off your radar, as if you forgot that you set the goal in the first place and you just stop.
For example, you decide you are not going to eat chocolate chip cookies any more. You’ve been eating too many at night, so you’re just going to stop. You don’t buy any, there are none in the house. But then, your roommate, partner or spouse kindly notices that you are out of chocolate chip cookies and picks some up for you at the store! We wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, right? So you just go ahead and eat them. And then, you forget about the goal. The next time you’re at the store, you buy the cookies! Sound familiar?
Change only happens if the pain of doing nothing is greater than doing something. Maybe you really didn’t want to give up those cookies, you just thought it would be a good idea. That’s why it didn’t take much to push you back into your old behavior.
For this week, pick one thing that you want to change. It can be getting more sleep, getting more exercise, adding in more healthy foods, taking out an unhealthy food choice. Be sure whatever you pick is truly causing you some grief.
Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On one side, write: Advantage. On the other side, write: Disadvantage. Brainstorm all the reasons it is to your advantage to give up or to your disadvantage not give up the thing you have chosen to change. If you can’t come up with a lot of good reasons, it may not be the right thing to try and change right now. Pick something else.
Change cannot occur without commitment!
If you need help deciding how to take this first step I am available for individual sessions 1:1, by phone or skype.
To your good health!