Have you ever felt like you can’t seem to get any traction with new changes in your life? We start a new activity whether it be exercise, weight loss, money management, spending more time with family, or learning a new skill. We start out with wild enthusiasm and after 48 - 72 hours the emotion of change is gone and we feel discouraged and eventually quit after a few weeks.
There are some very simple ways to improve the chance of success. The strategy to succeed is based on taking the time to dig in and answer some two very specific questions with crystal clarity.
#1 What is my WHY? To have a fighting chance of success over the long term, you have to answer this question with clarity. When I had my heart attack and quad bypass surgery 2 years ago, I had to make some major changes. The changes involved weight loss (I lost over 40 pounds), a healthy diet, and more regular exercise. As I looked at my life, I realized my wife Debbie deserved a healthy and strong husband, my three grown sons wanted a father who was present and my five grandkids just loved grandpa and wanted me to be fit enough to play with them. I now had my compelling “WHY” and it was for the most important “OTHERS” in my life.
#2 What are the SPECIFICS? Now that we have our “WHY” we can develop the specific details of the plan, remember the importance is in the details. What do I need to do and also not do? What is my plan to record and report my progress? Who am I accountable to? Several things work well for me:
A. I track my food intake every day on my phone app. This provides immediate feedback and also allows me to check food options before eating. I also track my activity level on my phone which includes my steps and the time spent doing weight resistance training.
B. I hired a coach who helped me set up the exercise program with incremental progress built in. I also pay monthly for accountability because I need to report my progress and get daily feedback.
C. I repeat the positive activities every day even when it gets boring. This repetition can lead to mastery; the key is course correction along the journey. Remember that success is not a straight line. There are twists and turns & ups and downs along the way and it’s the regular course corrections that will eventually lead to success.
D. One last thing to remember: don’t compare yourself to others (this can often lead to discouragement) but celebrate the progress made and reward yourself occasionally (maybe once a month) with something that enhances your journey forward.