Change is difficult! So difficult that:
- “Ninety-five percent of those who lose weight on a diet regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more than they originally lost.”
- “Even after a heart attack, only one of every seven patients makes any enduring change around eating or exercise.”
- “Twenty-five percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week. Sixty percent do so within six months. The average person makes the same New Year’s resolution ten separate times without success.”
- “Seventy percent of organizational change initiatives ultimately fail.”
Monday I identified a few of the stumbling blocks on the pathway to change. Today let’s look at strategies that will increase the odds of you implementing a change.
MAKE ONLY ONE CHANGE AT A TIME.
Experts tell us that establishing new habits— change can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. Thanks to conditioning. The brain prefers to travel down familiar pathways. Change requires constructing new pathways in the brain. The difficulty of the activity being learned and the individual’s level of commitment determine the time required to build these new pathways. On the average, within 66 days learning plateaus, and behaviors are as automatic as they will ever become.
ENVISION THE FUTURE
Ask yourself. “What happens if I don’t change? What happens if I do change?” Use words, pictures, a song to describe each future. In the beginning refer to it daily, and whenever your motivation is waning.
ACCEPT DISCOMFORT AS PART OF THE PROCESS.
Change requires leaving one’s comfort zone and embracing the unknown. Prior to beginning the change process gather information about the change and possible difficulties you will experience. This will provide both a rational explanation and encouragement for the discomfort you are experiencing.
TAKE BABY STEPS.
Slow and gradual modification is more likely to result in a permanent change. Make a “to do” list— a growth plan to stay focus. Develop rituals.
CELEBRATE SMALL SUCCESSES.
Don’t’ wait until the finish line to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back each time you accomplish one of the “baby steps”. Keep a journal and record whenever you make a positive choice.
CHANGE TAKES TIME.
Accept the truth that change won’t occur overnight and will require perseverance.
Will change be easy? NO!
Will it be worth it? A thousand times YES!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
Change statistics are from Tony Schwartz’s book, The Way We Are Working Isn’t Working.
May you experience Christ’s love — the reason for the season.