We all want to change something about ourselves our bodies or something in our life. How can we sustain the change we want? How many people have tried to lose weight? Give up smoking? Gain more confidence? However they were only able to sustain it for a few weeks, maybe a month or longer. Eventually your desires fizzled out? How many people have made a new years resolution with the same outcome? These decisions were probably difficult to sustain. This is why you eventually gave up. Day to day living and all the stresses that they bring get in the way of making and sustaining the change you really want.
So in actual fact, when it really comes down to it you haven’t changed at all. You are back at “square one”, but have spent a bit of time trying really hard but going round in a circle.
Every one can make the decision to try something different. That’s the easy part. It only takes a few seconds to make. The real challenge comes from allowing that decision to form part of who you are. If you look at all the people that have maintained changes in their life, you will notice that the change they have made is now a part of them. Its not just something they are trying. It is now easy for them and they don’t even have to think about it. This has now become sustainable.
So how can we sustain the decisions to change something in our lives?
First of all, we have to look at the opportunity and not the problem. If someone said, “I don’t want this pain” or “I want to lose weight”, our brain instantly hears the noun in the phrase, i.e. pain or weight. Because of the way we are wired you will always get the things you are focused on, so in this case weight and pain.
We need to focus on positive things. So instead of saying, “I don’t want this pain”, you could say “I want to be free to do the things I want to do”. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight” saying “I want to be fit and healthy. Your brain is now focused on being free, fit and healthy. These words are very positive and definitely things you want in your life.
We need to ensure that all the “other things in life” do not allow us to change our focus. The more stress we have in life, the fewer things we can handle. Unfortunately new changes go out the window first. So we need to keep stress levels to a minimum in the initial stages.
21 days is the recommended amount of time that you need to keep up something new for the chance of it become sustainable in your life. The inital period is the most challenging. After that it will become easier all the time.