We have all been there. Something need to be changed or added in order to improve our life. All that’s needed is to get that done. That’s where the hard part starts. Just like in sales, our worst competitor is status quo. Doing what we already do is so much easier than making a decision to change and then act on that decision.
There are a few things needed in order to actually make the changes we want.
- A goal, what do you want to achieve.
- A reason, what motivates you to actually change?
- A plan, when during the day can you do it? Where does it fit in without complicating life too much.
- Action and perseverance.
Change requires a goal
We need a goal, a colourful attractive goal that works like a lighthouse and shows us where to go. What do you want to achieve? Ignore what others want, changes are all about you and your own motivation.
Write down your goal in just a few words, put it somewhere you can easily see it and be reminded of it.
If needed, break down your goal into sub-goals and steps before planning.
Change requires a strong reason
Change requires action, perseverance, grit and above all a solid to us attractive reason. What’s the reason for us to get up and start doing something? Our reason shall keep us on track and actually do what’s needed. A weak reason makes us try a few times and then it all fades away.
We need a reason so strong that it kills all the excuses we can come up with to get off the hook and do nothing.
Change requires action
Action speaks louder than words. Change requires action. The decision to make a change and thinking about doing it amounts to nothing without action.
Change requires perseverance
Change is like learning to ride a bike. For most of us it takes more than one try. You fall, get up, dust yourself off and get back on the bike. It will work better this time. Changes work the same way. Sometimes we forget or it goes wrong. The key here is to try again, next time will be better.
Make the decision
Making the decision is the easy part. The decision in itself requires no action. Our brain is lazy. It’s pleased by making the decision and doesn’t care much about actually carrying it out. The brain makes us feel pleased and satisfied with making the decision. Once we have made the decision our brain wants to move on to other things. “We’ve made the decision, now let us move on.”
When it’s time to actually change our brain gets very creative with excuses to avoid it. “There’s no time today. Let us wait until tomorrow.” “I’ll do it later.” If our goal seems too big we never will get started. It’s too scary, too much effort is required and it will turn into a someday project. “I’ll do it someday.”
The trick is to start small. Our intention is to create a lasting habit. Once that’s done we can expand on it. Start small, your resistance is low and excuses are hard to make up. Instead of saying I want to walk an hour a day, aim for five minutes. Once you’re out it might be more. Instead of saying I want to get 30 minutes of intense exercise each day (starting with none at all), start small with five minutes light exercise to create the habit to exercise each day.
My morning yoga
Many say you need to do yoga for at least an hour or it will have no real effect. That’s placing the bar high, how many can squeeze an hour of yoga into already busy days? Five minutes of daily yoga practice is far better than no yoga at all. What actually gets done makes more difference than tons of good intentions.
Ten years ago I asked my yoga teacher for a five minute program I could do at home. It’s hard to honestly claim that five minutes of time is impossible to find in a day. I started doing it in the morning, day after day. It turned into a habit and later into a craving, I need it to get a good morning. Over time it has expanded and is now 15-20 minutes each morning. The program has changed over the years. The reason I continue is still the same, I want an agile body.
My daily exercise
Exercise for me has nothing to do with looking or feeling younger. My goal is to exercise daily, my reason is that I want an agile and stronger body as I grow older. The exercises I pick shall require nothing but my body and be able to do anywhere. Knowing it takes time to create lasting habits I added one exercise at a time. By starting small I have over time created a great morning routine.
Nine months ago I started doing squats in the morning. I started with few squats in order to create the habit. By now I do 50 each morning.
Eight months ago I started doing situps every morning. My goal was to create the habit, not setting any records. I started with few situps, the important thing was doing them at all. It has grown over time, now I do 50 situps each morning. That’s something I thought was far out of reach when I started. If my goal had been to do 50 situps I would have given up early, it was too much for me when I started.
Many of you have probably seen the 30 day plank challenge. You start with 10 seconds and then add until you do 3 minutes a day. That kind of challenge does not work for me. A month ago I started doing the plank in the morning. I had the benefits of doing situps for a longer time so once I got started with the plank it was easy to continue.
It’s about you!
What can you do to make your changes easier? To make them at all and then stick to them.