Spring has most definitely arrived, and it’s a great reminder to plan how we want to bloom and grow in our own lives!
Personal development and growth is imperative to feeling a sense of aliveness in your life. During spring break, I was reading an article on best practices for motivating clients to make positive changes, and the consistent message I took away from the article is that will power and left-brained, rational thinking has little to do with our ability to reach our goals. Most of the time, we aren’t able to logically think our way into behavioral change. We know this, right? It just doesn’t work that way. We rationally and logically know what we need to do, but if making the change doesn’t intuitively feel good fairly quickly, the new behavior rather immediately goes by the wayside, and we fall back into our habits and old routine. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that we break down our large goals into very small, manageable behavioral changes. This seems like common sense; however, the human tendency is to focus way too much on the BIG change we want, rather than the small steps that will get us there.
When you plan to create a behavioral change, if you aren’t able to give yourself a 9 or 10 on a confidence scale (10 being 100% confident you can be successful at reaching the desired behavior), then you need to break your goal down even further. For example, if at this point, you don’t exercise at all, rather than setting a goal of exercising 60 minutes a day 6 days a week (which would be a large behavioral change from your current behavior), you set a smaller, more manageable goal like walking your dog 20 minutes a day after work each day. Or, instead of setting a goal of going completely vegan, you begin by having a meatless Monday each week. You get the idea. Just make sure your confidence at consistently carrying out the small goal is at the 9 or 10 range. Then, once you have reached that small goal consistently and you feel you are ready, you create another small goal that you would rate a 9 or 10 on the confidence scale and move you in the direction of your larger vision for yourself.
Take a moment and think about one area of your life where you have a large, positive vision of change for yourself. Then, break that vision down and down and down until you have one small behavioral change you could honestly say you’d rate a 9 or 10 on a confidence scale and move you in the direction of your bigger vision. Write your small step down somewhere you will see it regularly.
One other message is the importance of environment and support in creating change. Sometimes you may need the assistance of a life coach, counselor, personal trainer, etc. However, much of the time you simply need an accountability partner. Share both your larger vision and small goal with one supportive, trusted friend. Ask him or her to check in with you regularly about your progress.
Lastly, CELEBRATE each small step you make. It’s these small steps that truly add up to create fabulous, shiny life changes!
Leslie ~Sparkling Yogini