In order to change your life, you need to change your life. I know, I sound like Captain Obvious over here, but the truth is that so many of us want something to be different in our lives but we aren’t able to make that happen.
Just today I was talking with a client about how to make better food choices. She told me every single morning she wakes up and says “today’s the day!” and then immediately falls back into her previous pattern. Of course she does! Nothing else is changing. Good intentions are lovely, but aren’t going to get you anywhere. We need action. We need a plan.
Instead of waking up and deciding that NOW is the best possible time to change your life, I highly recommend spending some time thinking about what you want that change to be. Just as so many of my clients list “feel better” on their goal sheet, we have to tease out EXACTLY what we want if we ever want to get there. What does “feel better” mean? What is today the day for, exactly?
Once you’ve really thought it out, it’s time to write it out. Put pen to paper and set your intentions. Do that on a regular basis. It’s one thing to think about something, it’s quite another to actually write it out. Maybe in your writing you’ll find that something doesn’t exactly ring true. Or you’ll get even more clear about what your true goals are and let go of the “shoulds” that keep flying around your head but aren’t really YOUR goals.
Then, and this is crucial, GET SUPPORT. The thing about change is that it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Life as we know it right now, in our old patterns, is uncomfortable, too, but familiar. This is a very tough spot to be in. At least in our current discomfort, we know what it feels like. When we make a change, we don’t really know how it’s all going to shake down. It might not get us the results we thought it would. It might take way more time or way more effort or we might end up on a surprising path. Unfamiliar is scary. And that’s a tough place to be alone. So recruit people to help you. Tell your partner/roommate/co-workers/friends about your goals. See if they want to help you be accountable. See if they’re willing to join you in any of your endeavors. Sometimes participants in my Sugar Purges have their partner or kid join too, unofficially, as a built in level of support. I’ve had clients report that their friends have been willing (and actually happy) to change a weekly happy hour date to a weekly Zumba class. I’ve also had numerous occasions where a partner or friend hinders change for whatever reason. My own husband has been known to bring home ice cream from time to time in the hopes that I will indulge with him after the kiddo is asleep (mostly I oblige, dammit!). In those cases, it’s sometimes a good idea to seek support outside of those relationships. And that’s where the pros come in.
A good coach, trainer, nutritionist, doctor, therapist (etc) will listen to you, meet you where you are and help you get where you want to be. They will challenge you, but not in un-achievable ways. You will feel safe, supported and heard. They will check in on your goals, keep you motivated and hold space for the uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Without that person, the change will be much harder. With that person, it will happen.