Monday, August 20, 2012

Losing Focus?

This is about the time in many people's drive for change when they start to really lose focus. The novelty is wearing off and they may not be seeing big results yet. This is when it is MOST important to get excited again!

I've said before that part of creating a challenge is to articulate how changing your behavior will improve your life. In The Beck Diet Solution, Psychologist Judith Beck calls it stating "the advantages". She suggests writing the advantages of your behavior change on index cards or even using the list as your computer screensaver. You should then review the list multiple times a day to maintain your focus and enthusiasm. Reminding yourself why you are changing the behaviors should make you more likely to actually change them.

Another way to keep it fresh is to add new challenges. Now that you've tweaked your plan and gained some momentum, you should be able to pick something that's a little harder. And remember not to beat yourself up if you haven't been perfectly consistent. I've had ups and downs the last few weeks and while I try not to make excuses, I also realize that real-life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans. If I'm doing better than I was before I started the challenge, I choose to see it as success. Try to pick something fun for your new challenge. I'm replacing one day of weight lifting with a workout using my new suspension straps (okay, I hear some of you saying, "really, that's fun?"). I get really amped about new exercise gadgets so now that I finally have the straps mounted in my workout room, I'm eager to try them.

If you feel like you're not getting anywhere, take a hard look at what's going on in your life and what behaviors you are trying to change. Maybe the benefits don't outweigh the difficulty right now. It's okay to not be ready to change. But if it's important to you, you CAN find a way to make it work. It might take more planning, or finding an incentive that really excites you, or changing your methods. If you believe that your behavior changes will improve your life, isn't it worth making them a priority? So bust out those index cards or find some other way to remind yourself why you are engaging in this challenge. And remember, I'm always here as a sounding board and problem solver!

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