January is the month we think of for making resolutions, and spring gets all the glory as the time for renewal, but I think fall is a fantastic time for making real and meaningful change. I have a couple secrets for adapting change, and I’m going to let you in on them.
1. Don’t try to eat the entire elephant at once. Just take it one bite at a time.
It’s much easier to make—and more importantly, to sustain—one or two small changes than it is to make 100 changes. So rather than trying to quit drinking soda, stop hitting the vending machine, join a new gym, eat more greens, stop eating fast food for lunch, start packing healthy snacks every day, start eating breakfast, take up yoga twice a week, go to the farmers’ market every Saturday, drink less beer, eat more salad, start juicing, begin training for a half marathon AND eat more whole grains, how about picking just one of those?
By taking it one step at a time, you’re more likely to succeed, and with each new victory, you’re in a better position to achieve the next! Don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on too much.
2. Don’t think about the change. Think about the outcome you’re going to achieve by making the change.
What does that mean? Don’t get stuck on the effort it takes to start eating more greens or the hole you’re going to feel by cutting out vending machine visits. Instead, take the time to really envision yourself feeling light and lean with great digestion and a renewed sense of energy. It’s significantly easier to adapt a new habit when you have a strong positive emotional, visceral association tied to it.
And don’t forget to be nice to yourself while you’re working on new habits. You’re human, you will make mistakes and maybe lose sight of your goal here and there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick yourself up and get back on track.
3. Tap into your support network...and if you don't have one, find one!
Knowing that someone else has your back as your making a change can help you to feel less isolated or frustrated as you're making a change. And being accountable to a friend, familiy member or a professional can be an extremely effective way of keeping you on the path your trying to forge.
What outcome would you like to achieve this fall?