Do you have aspects about yourself you'd like to change and improve upon? Let's face it, who amongst us doesn't? Would you like to i.e.: become more focused and less susceptible to distractions? How would you like to be more self-disciplined, with an enviable self-control that leaves others in awe? Would you like to have more genuine self-confidence, rather than projecting a fake smile belying terrified eyes? This can all be achieved, but how easily it can be achieved depends on you, and how hard you're willing to work for it.
What so many disempowered people don't realise is that change is possible at all times. No one has to wait for Monday, pay day or a New Year to roll round to shift things around. Every second of every day is an opportunity to start something fresh; be it a brave new attitude, an empowering new habit, a positive confidence adjustment, an invigorating new health regime - seriously, anything. Too many people get trapped into making excuses, because excuses make everything easier...and easy is almost always preferable to challenging. But there's no growth without challenge.
The tricky thing with excuses is they offer weak characters a permanent solution to not having to try or persist, rather than endure the temporary nature of goal attainment. To achieve something - anything - is temporary, it requires a "What's next?" mindset, with a side order of relentless perseverance. This represents too much like hard work for the weak characters amongst us. Let me give you an example: You want to lose 20lbs in weight to help lower your elevated blood pressure, and to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Okay, you know what needs to be done; you need to exercise more and reduce/improve what you consume. This is the goal.
Weak characters may start strong and full of enthusiasm, but will inevitably begin to expend more energy looking for reasons NOT to exercise, work hard, eat well and persist. They will attempt to inject a degree of complexity into the mix (it's too cold/wet, I have my period, I don't have time) and use it as an excuse to NOT do what they said they would do.
Commitment is doing the thing you said you'd do, long after the initial mood has changed
Strong people however stay committed to the goal, regardless of trials and challenges. In our example here the total weight loss goal is 20lbs, but it won't all come off at once (dammit). Healthy weight loss must occur gradually, ideally at a rate of approximately 2lbs a week. So after Week 1 an ideal amount of 2lbs has been dropped through exercise and a healthy eating plan, but this achievement is temporary because there is 18lbs to go. This is where the lure of excuses ensnares the weak of character. Excuses spare them the work, the sacrifice, the self-reflection and the prevailing discomfort of having to keep going.
Strong people have a laser focus, they seek out strategies and daily motivation to keep them going when they don't feel like it, because they're human too don't forget. Strong people don't rely on willpower alone, and they choose to develop these goal-achieving strategies to help drive their decision making processes, whilst always be pushing their mission forward. Willpower alone is not enough, and the secret here is not to exhaust your willpower. In this example; don't fill your fridge with high fat/high calorific junk, throw out your takeaway menus, make your own healthy lunches for work, rather than buying a high fat/calorific meal when your blood sugars are low and your bodily cravings kick in. Set yourself up for success rather than for self-sabotage. Mindfully make good, strong, positive and healthy decisions.
WILLPOWER ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH
If you liken your willpower to the battery on your smartphone; the more you use it, the less you have. You can't expect to use your smartphone constantly all day, and then have 100% battery power remaining; well your willpower works in much the same way. If your willpower spends all day resisting biscuits with your tea or calorie laden specialty coffees, by the time evening comes your willpower is so depleted, you're unable to resist that decadent dessert. By now you're tired and it's so much easier to justify that "treat" you deserve. By making this poor choice however, you've just blown up your great work and results from earlier, which is demoralising and can ultimately lead to mission surrender.
With a little understanding of where the pitfalls are, and how temptation is likely to disguise itself and why, you can really make a difference this time. Knowledge is power, always has been, always will be. There are lots of tips, tricks and hacks you can use to your advantage this time, if you really, really want to affect a change in your life, here is one great example: Focus: Don't Break The Chain.
Can you visualise coming home from work, college, shopping, wherever? You go into your bedroom and start removing your clothes, to change into something more comfortable. Take a moment to think about the process of unbuttoning, unzipping and stepping out of one set of clothes, before putting on a different set of clothes. Can you "see" it? Relatively easy, isn't it?
Now what I'm suggesting you try, if you're willing, is to use this visualisation for changing the aspects of yourself you wish to improve upon. For example: if you want to lose weight, visualise yourself as you currently are and decide you're going to change. Imagine unzipping yourself from this heavier version of yourself and leaving the excess fat suit crumpled on your bedroom floor. Now select the leaner, healthier version of yourself from your wardrobe, and zip yourself into that. The only thing with your Lean Body is there's no room for cake, pizza or beer. Besides you don't want to corrupt or infect your super new healthy and lean bod with the calories, fat and toxins from your old style bad decisions, do you?
This principle works across the board: If you don't have an abundance of self-confidence, but need to perform well at a job interview, step into your Confidence Suit - even if it's only for a little while (to begin with), it'll be enough to get you the job. If you're a bugger for succumbing to distractions at work, which limits your productivity, select a Self-Discipline Suit - if only for today. The more you practice this visualisation. and the more time you spend in your Confidence Suit, the more quickly you will become genuinely confident, because those thought and behaviour patterns will become second nature. You must BE the energy you wish to attract.
As Henry Ford famously said: "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right!" You become what you repeatedly think about - good or bad, so for God's sake choose good, strong, powerful and positive! Be highly selective in what you tell yourself, because you are listening. Negative self-talk can hobble you before you even start, so banish it, refuse to think it. When you start talking yourself down, in negative words and tone, stop, acknowledge what you're doing and course correct. Apologise to yourself, as you would your best friend, for being so mean and then rephrase your appraisal of the situation. If you wouldn't speak to your best friend in such a manner, why would you heap such crap upon yourself?
If this current version of you isn't working for you any more, if you've outgrown outdated attitudes and behaviours, change them. Step out of the old version of you, and step into a new and improved version of you. Zip yourself into the person you want to be, be it leaner, stronger, more educated, more productive, more successful, or happy. It's a choice you get to make, and it all starts in your head. We update our phones more than we update our own operating systems, why? You are allowed to reboot yourself whenever, and as often as you want to - go for it!
Reveal your new self. What does s/he look like, sound like? How does s/he stand, speak, listen, think and behave? What kind of people would your new self attract into their world, and where would those people be found? What positive and success-generating habits does your new self maintain? How does your new self make decisions, now your operating system has been updated? What bugs and fixes have been addressed?
Just remember that willpower isn't actually all that powerful, and weakens the more you use it. The change you seek is possible, but willpower alone is not enough, so set yourself up with success-generating habits and strategies, and most importantly, visualise yourself as already having achieved your goal. These actions do need to be repeated constantly. Zig Ziglar once said: "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily". You can't wish for it, you have to work for it, but it all starts in your head.
If you'd like me to help you and accompany you on this journey, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Good luck!
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