There are parts of your psyche that are resistant to change. Your ego in particular sees change as a threat. It likes the old ways, and uses old expectations, and old mental tracks to try and keep you stuck.
Your ego also has an ally, and no, it’s not your anxiety – it’ your inner critic!
They’re the dynamic duo and when the going gets tough and you’re tough enough to get going, that’s when they bring in your anxiety.
Not to worry though because you can outsmart them with some mindful behavior, and learning how to set the stage for your success.
Setting the Stage
First things first: What do you want to accomplish?
Second: How would you classify your goal? Is it something you want to work towards, or work away from?
The answer to this question is important because it’s going to tell you how you need to proceed.
If you’re going to work away from something, such as smoking fewer cigarettes, or eating less chocolate, then your success steps need to make those items more difficult to get to.
Working towards eating a more healthy diet? Then you want to make that type of food as readily available as you can.
Third: What level of complexity does this change have?
Giving something up can be a fairly simple and straight-forward thing.
Healthy eating means understanding what foods are considered healthy, shopping for them and then preparing them. This change is a bit complex because you have to not only know what healthy food is, but how to pick it out, and then cook it.
To improve your chances of success with a complex goal, create mini-steps and mini-success opportunities.
Fourth: What’s your motivation for making this change?
In other words, what will you get out of it, i.e., what will happen, and how will reaching your goal make you feel?
This question determines if you’re really moving towards something good – or if you’re really working away from something. The classic example is losing weight.
You know how many people start a weight-loss plan on January 2nd, only to give it up within a week or two. That’s because their motivation, what they were working towards, wasn’t that meaningful.
So re-look at your goals and see if for your “work away” from goals can have a “work towards” aspect that can inspire you and keep you motivated.
For example, getting fit so you can have more fun with your kids is a case of working towards goal. One that has lots of positive benefits.
For the goals where you’re motivated by a good emotional investment, you’ll find it’s easier to setup success strategies for them.
Fifth: Make it as easy as possible for you to succeed.
Don’t “should”, “must”, or “have to” yourself.
Treat yourself nicely, especially when you encounter a few bumps in the road.
Be sure to reward yourself for the small successes you create along the way.
Success is a process. Make the process rich, green and as much fun as you can and that will help keep you motivated.