Many of the RMRS readers I speak with have high aspirations.
Many of us want to be better off financially and have higher-paying jobs.
Others want to lose weight and build muscle to improve our bodies.
And still others want better relationships with their loved ones.
I could go on and on…
Before we reach these goals there are obstacles to overcome and a number of changes that we have to make in our daily habits.
The problem is that change is hard!
In fact all of us have failed at least a few times when trying to improve ourselves.
Oftentimes we can feel helpless because we can’t make things happen.
I myself am no stranger to change.
I am fortunate to have undergone a life transformation in the last five years – an improvement that continues to have a positive impact on his life.
In this article I share with you what I've learned and how you can create change that lasts.
How have I done it?
What you have done before to get to where you are now is often going to be different from the things you have to do in order to get to the next level.
This is just one of the small nuggets of advice that you will find in this post. In saying that we simply cannot cover everything so we highly recommend checking out books by Chip and Dan Heath, Kerry Patterson, Richard Thaller and Daniel Pink to get a better framework about the whole idea of change.
Let’s start with the premise that there are so many myths regarding change.
Myth #1: Willpower is all you need to create change
Everyone seems to believe that you can just take your willpower, push it and suddenly make things happen.
If we have enough willpower we should be able to lose weight, fix broken relationships, show up everyday and work hard and all that. In fact when I meet people and then find out I was a Marine – they assume my success is due to the discipline I picked up in the Corps.
However, this isn’t fully true.
Willpower can get you far – but it is a limited resource and can't by itself create long-term change.
Let me be clear…….
Willpower is important – and it can be increased – but it is a myth to believe that willpower is the key to change.
Let's liken the human body to an elephant and the mind to a small rider atop that elephant.
When the elephant sees food or water he is bound to turn in that direction.
While the rider may able to beat that elephant to a stick to get him on track, as soon as he stops paying attention the elephant will go his own way anyway.
This is a constant struggle unless one figures out a way for the elephant to follow the path without having to always prod them with a stick.
Here are a few tips to help achieve that goal:
1. Direct the rider
Give your rider – aka your logical mind – exactly what it needs to know in the order that it needs to know it.
To do this, one needs to find his “Yoda”.
That means finding a person that you respect and following him/her. Let this other person be your direction. Let them give you the path.
When you achieve this the rider stops looking in different directions and he can be focused on the path.
2. Motivate the elephant
Set up a system so that your body and your emotions receive rewards for taking those little steps to change.
Find different ways to motivate yourself. Promise yourself rewards.
In the online course called “The Style System”, members receive emails of more fun and lighter nature after completing a task. It's one way to motivate men to take action and get the task done.
If you want to lose weight, find a way to reward yourself for sticking with the new diet or new exercise regimen.
3. Shape the path
Shaping the path may translate to creating different systems in your life so that it becomes harder to go off the path.
Let’s bring this back to the elephant- if you create ditches around and beside the path that the elephant has to take, you are immediately making it harder for him to go off the path. As a result the elephant will stay on that path.
Again, if you want to lose weight simply get rid of all that junk food! Don’t even have it in the house. If you do this then you will be making it difficult for yourself to pig out and binge on unhealthy food.
I could go into this more extensively but I don’t want to overload you with information. This will have to do for the meantime.
Change is undoubtedly difficult and while I am hopeful I really don’t expect this post to be that main thing that will get you to change. The most that I want it to do is get you thinking about the idea of change.
If you want to delve in deeper though, the links posted throughout this post should give you enough information to digest.
Until next time!
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