He’s right, many people don’t make changes simply because they don’t know how. We know we should “eat right” and “exercise” but what exactly do those things mean? What skills are required? Eating right requires the ability to (somewhat) understand food labels and serving sizes. You don’t have to be a master chef, but you do need to know your way around the kitchen and own a few necessary tools – knife, cutting board, pots and pans. For exercise, it is important to know what to do in a way that doesn’t injure or scare you away from the process. I’m a firm believer (and proof) that just moving your body more than you were previously can produce results. Adam illustrates the need for education and includes links to resources and advisers on LIVESTRONG.com. I definitely suggest you check them out.
While I agree personal ability is vital to long term change, I’d argue personal motivation is just as important. Making significant changes to our daily routine is not easy. It’s not always fun. It can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. So you have to determine what’s in it for you. Find a way to make the change more tolerable. Personally, I despise running, but if I have my iPod it’s slightly more tolerable. And eating healthfully has improved my IBS and mindset dramatically.
The following exercise was taken directly from the Influencer course. Think of a habit you’ve wanted to change for a long time. Now list ALL the reasons you haven’t been successful at changing that habit. Look at your list and ask yourself, “what is at risk if I don’t change? What do I stand to gain if I do?” Take the most powerful words and phrases from your list and use them to create a statement that sums up your personal motivation to change this habit. For instance, my bad habit is that I procrastinate on balancing my checkbook. I wait until Saturday morning to go through the stack of receipts and bills to figure out where we stand. Inevitably, I end up frustrated, frazzled and error prone because I haven’t paid attention throughout the week. This stresses me out and can sour my mood for the whole weekend. Therefore, my personal motivation statement is, “by calculating my finances daily I’ll have more control over our situation and be less stressed on the weekends, strengthening my relationships with Bill and Maddie.” The key is to reconnect with this statements during crucial moments. If I get home and have to decide between plopping my butt on the couch or taking 15 minutes to review our finances, that statement should remind me which choice to make. I’ve also set up visual reminders, such as placing my finance notebook next to the laptop and creating calendar reminders on my phone, to help me make this a habit.
Do you think you’d be more likely to change if you tapped into your own personal motivation?