“The start is what stops most people.”
Don Shula, Former NFL
Starting can be the toughest part of change, but don’t let that stop you!
Use the Wishful Thinking Works “4 Steps to Success” start-up plan to outsmart yourself!
1. Keep the things you need to succeed on hand. Make change as easy as possible!
- Prime your success pump by writing down other positive changes you have made in your life. Then commit your goals for your current change to paper.
- Figure out what you will need to make the change a reality and get those resources ready. If you want to walk or exercise every morning, keep your shoes and walking or workout clothes next to your bed. If you are trying to lose weight, keep an abundance of healthy foods in the refrigerator and cupboards – stack the odds in your favor. If you want to meditate or create more peace in your life, download free meditation apps on your phone or iPad.
- Build a support system, it may be your best resource! Let someone who cares about you know what your plan is and or buddy-up with a success partner – your goals don’t have to be similar just make sure your commitment level to them is.
- Create a “success reminder” and repeat it to yourself when you feel the need for motivation or to reward yourself: “I feel so great when I walk for 30 minutes each day, I love knowing I’m taking care of myself and I love the time I spend outdoors.” “I love meditating, it always makes me feel better.” (Use your words, customize it until it feels absolutely right.)
2. Practice makes perfect: Have a rehearsed, positive argument in your head for every excuse you will come up with.
- You know yourself better than anyone; use that to your advantage.
- Let your weaknesses become your guides, address them and think about or write what you will tell yourself when they are trying to talk you out of success.
- Draw a picture of yourself or create a mental picture of what your success will look and feel like. Make your future come alive for you in the present. If you are going back to school, picture yourself at graduation with your degree in hand. If you are trying to lose weight, picture yourself in your skinny jeans. Work on the vision until it really makes you feel great about your success.
3. Track your success.
- Create a simple way to record your accomplishments as you go. Seeing your success in black and white will work in your favor. Accountability will build your confidence and create a sense of pride, which will move you forward faster.
- Use a journal, an online calendar, a chart, notches on a belt – get creative and make sure your tracking method is fun and easy – find the format that works best for you.
4. Build in “just right” rewards along the way.
- Create heartfelt rewards for each step you take in the right direction. (A week of sticking to your plan deserves a special reward. Or, any major accomplishment within the week deserves an award.)
- The key is to think like “Goldilocks”! Don’t make the rewards so little they don’t matter, or so big that they stop you by making you feel you have accomplished all you need to. Make them feel just right, so they motivate you to keep going.
- Make sure the reward does not sabotage your results! Eating whatever you want all weekend, because your met your weight loss goal for the week, will not help you in the long run, and the guilt you feel may send you careening off course.
- Have fun with the rewards, and make sure they really make you feel great!
And, last but not least, remember that failure is a part of moving forward. Don’t let setbacks or roadblocks turn into u-turns. Pause, regroup, repeat your success reminder, steer past personal or outside recriminations – keep moving forward. The finish line is waiting for you; I know you can do it!
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