If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou.
We've all been there. There will be times in our life where we want to make a change. It could be something physical like building up your miles so you can run the London Marathon one day. Or something mental like doing something you like instead of doing something just because you have to do. But how do you know that, in carving the path to change, you will be successful?
Four years ago I was on my own journey to change. I knew I had to after feeling lethargic, tired and simply negative about everything around me. I wanted to lose weight. I did all I could to set proper goals, read up on books and research so that my hard work would not go down the drain. I did successfully lose 45 lbs in 8 months, and had a complete lifestyle overhaul, but after all that, I realized one thing.
Change will not happen unless I change my mind first.
Fast forward to today, any change that I hope to achieve is based on these 3 simple things that I am happy to share with you today. I believe that no matter what we hope to change, in order to be successful, how we feel and think is crucial. Here they are:
1. Believe in yourself
In my weight loss journey, I was lucky to have people supporting me, but the number of people going against my idea was plentiful, too. As much as it's easy to be blithely unconcerned with people who try to bring you down, it's so much easier to start believing in yourself. There WILL be people who try to talk you out of doing something different and sometimes you might feel it's hard to just tell someone your true feelings without the need of justification. But, I want you to know this – it's okay.
If you're one of the lucky ones who has close family members and a great support network, that's good. But if you have someone like Aunt Carol who keeps telling you things like, "You can never be fit!" or something harsh like, "Stop wasting time trying to read self-development books. You will never change.", it's time to do something for yourself.
Instead of feeling sour, use their negativity to power yourself up through the rain. Keep reminding yourself why you want to change. Tell yourself that you're worth it. Tell yourself that you can achieve anything you want and people like these are a waste of time. Never for any moment underestimate the power of believing. Whether you think you can or can't, you are right and that is absolutely true. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. You got this.
2. Stay positively patient
Change and success take time. Sometimes it takes longer than you hope, and other times you might not even see results in the first few months of making a change. Being patient helps, but being positively patient is even better. When I was on my journey of living healthier and making a change to the way I physically feel, it took some time for results to come in. It took lots of optimism and self-assurance to tell myself that change will come.
And it did. It took me 8 months to reach my goal weight. Was it an overnight effort? Not at all. But it was the product of multiple overnight efforts. 240 nights to be exact.
When making an initial change, your mind and body will work against it. Say for example you want to stop thinking negatively all the time and face the world with more positivity. Because your mind is so used to feeling negative, it will take some time for it to get through a complete cycle of change. But always remember that it will take much longer if you keep changing your plans all the time, too.
Take the negative energy out of your life so you're placed in the right headspace. Write your goals down and include a couple of motivational quotes. Watch inspirational videos online. Surround yourself with people who motivate, instead of those who bring you down.
Personally, I carry my little notebook everywhere I go and record down my own progress as I go along. Yes I could put it into my phone or Evernote but recording things down physically works better for me. Tangibly seeing progress is important because it allows me to celebrate small successes and it keeps me going.
This applies to a lot of things in life, and that includes changing habits such as giving up cigarettes, giving up on soda or working on a new exercise regime. It also works on mental habits like thinking positive and being the excellent person you've always want to be. The best thing is? This notebook serves as a prove that bad days are not too bad after all.
3. Power up your willpower
Have you ever started walking a little bit more each day or started working on that eBook only to stop halfway? It happens. And it happens because we're human. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, this has nothing to do about motivation, but rather it's our willpower. Super strong and forceful willpower. Our willpower is a limited resource that runs out if we try to do too many things at once or if we try to do something new too fast. What this simply means is that if you're trying to change so many things at once, chances are you will not succeed.
The best people I know focus on one thing at a time, be superbly good at it and then move on at doing other things.
If you want to change successfully, don't try to do multiple things at once. Not only will you risk failing, you will end up feeling less motivated than you were before.
Take things one step at a time and build small habits. If you're trying to sleep longer each night, start by just going to bed 5 minutes earlier every night for a week. Baby steps count in strengthening your willpower. Once your body gets used to the initial step, you can then proceed to work on the next level. It's a good ego boost to your optimism when you need it most.
Here's to you…
These are the things that have helped me change my life to be the positively awesome person I am today. Believe in yourself, stay positively patient and power up your willpower. Change will come. Don't stop trying and keep going. It's so easy to give up when you feel low, tired and just sick of not seeing results but if you keep going, you'll leave your body and mind with no chance to pause. You will get there. It takes time, but there are no shortcuts in being the best that you can be. And you have to believe in that.
Feel free to share your comments, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have any questions, do ask away, too. I might not have all the answers but I will definitely give you my genuine thoughts and advice. 🙂