Creative Therapy

Keep the Change

Keep the ChangeKeep the Change

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:00

Motivation is a powerful force. When we commit to change something about our lives, we feel more motivated, which keeps us going. Yet so often, the spark of inspiration that started us on the path fizzles out when we face the inevitable obstacles to making real change. Why is it so hard?

Well, it’s easy to start things. At the beginning of anything, there is excitement and anticipation. But when it’s time to dig in and do the work, we tend to make a couple of assumptions ~ namely that it’s going to be easy and it’s going to be fast. When it’s not, motivation dissipates and we find other things to do instead. Part of the problem, though well-intentioned, is our unrealistic expectations of what it really means to walk the walk. Too often, we set ourselves up for failure. We want to make a change and it seems so simple: to wake up earlier, eat better, or start jogging now, we will force ourselves to make it work. What we often don’t have regard for is just how much work it really takes to make even small changes. Choosing a week to start a morning meditation practice when we are already sleep deprived just isn’t going to pan out. Forcing more stuff into our schedules doesn’t give us the relief and pleasure we hope for and our motivation easily melts into guilt and frustration.

So instead of telling yourself, Oh, this is easy, I should be able to do this, let it be hard. That’s basic intelligence. If it were so easy, you probably would have done it already. Being realistic about the journey helps you make the journey.

From this viewpoint, you start to see that something’s going to have to give if you’re really going to change. Isn’t that the point? Let the change in your diet be the absolute priority. That might mean you need to tweak some things ~ like having a light lunch if you plan to go out to dinner with friends, replacing that brownie dessert with a fruit bowl, or giving yourself extra time to prepare meals. Motivation comes from results. And in the beginning, before you see the change, you have to visualize it. As you make the change, you’ll start to see it for real. But in the beginning, you need visualize what achieving your goal will actually look like.

Choose one area of your life to really focus on. Too many goals make it difficult to achieve any, so simplify. Which goal would bring you the most impact now? Start by getting specific and realistic about what it’ll take to get you there. Immerse yourself in success stories, the research, and the daily practices needed to change for good.


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