Make a conscious decision to change!
Why do so many people, who say they want to change, remain the same, year after year? I will tell you why. It is because they overlook the essential first step – the step which begins to close the gap between knowing and doing. That step is… making a conscious decision to make a change.
I am not talking about making ambiguous claims like, “Yeah… this year I’m gonna get in shape.” Most people tell themselves this is one of their objectives every month. But how many people are truly moving in that direction? Unfortunately , very few.
And the reason? Because it is one thing to just talk about changing and it is a completely different thing to decide to actually do it. You see, when you make a conscious decision to make a change, your mind ‘awakens’ and starts searching for a way. You begin to develop a feeling – a deeply rooted need to make it happen. That sensation is what many people call ‘desire’. Before you know it, you will crave that change all day and night – the desire becomes a ‘burning desire’.
Fortunately, we all have desire. We may have buried it. But it is there. You have to let your desire propel you toward the goals you have decided to achieve. Do not let people, your surroundings, or circumstances convince you that you really do not have desire. When you decide you are not going to go on living the way you are living, when you decide the way things were last year is not the way there are going to be in this, you have taken the first step.
Find a reason!
“So I need to make a decision to do something here, to get off my butt and start moving. And keep moving. That is fine, but how do I do it?” Well, you just have to find a reason to change. I will say it again. Find a reason.
It is one thing to tell yourself you would like to get fit this year. It is a whole ‘nother matter to think of the most dreadful thing imaginable heppening if you do not get control of your body and your life, pronto! It is having a reason that fuels the intense desire and power (the inspiration, as I call it) for getting started and for following through. There is a world of difference between simply wanting something and having to have it.
Please made sure you clearly identify your reason for deciding to change, write it down, and read it every morning and night. Be particular. I know that you know deep down inside you have a reason, actually several reasons – good reasons – to decide to change.
Honestly “see yourself”!
Since we ‘see ourselves’ every day, we often do not notice if we are ‘slipping’. If we are not careful, before long, the image we have of ourselves in our minds will not be in sync with reality. What I suggest you do is have someone take a photo of you in a pair of shorts or swimwear. You may find this embarrassing, but trust me, it is worth it.
Now take other photos every month, and put them side by side in your bedroom, on your refrigerator door… someplace where you will see them frequently. This is help you honestly see yourself.
When you look at your photos, ask yourself if you are really satisfied with what you see and feel. How do you feel inside? How do you really feel about yourself? Are you confident, energetic, and proud? Or do you now honestly feel ever more insprited to follow through on your decision to change? What are the pros and cons of continuing on in the same direction you are going? Would you like to feel better about yourself and know you are creating a brighter future? Remember, right now you are the youngest you will ever be, and time waits for no one!
Set specific Goals!
You might be thinking: “I have heard about this goal setting mumbo jumbo before. It can’t possibly work. If it were so easy, everyone would do it.” Well listen, I really do not know what you might have heard before. But I do know this is powerful stuff. And if you find those echoes of skepticism creeping in and starting to chop away at these ideas already, you might want to take a minute and ask yourself where that is coming from. Change is about being open. It is about releasing old ideas to make room for new ones. It is about creating a better future for yourself. It is not about closing your mind. And it is certainly not about being cynical and negative.
Setting goals is vitally important to your success. However, I have discovered many people are not clear about what goals are – they do not know the difference between goals and dreams. It is important to clarify this – dreams are things you hope for – things you enjoy thinking about but really do not know when or if they will happen. Goals, on the other hand, are specfic things you have decided you need to accomplish within a clearly defined period of time. For example, the statement ‘Someday I am going to get in shape…” is a dream. However, if you declare that, “Within 12 weeks, I will lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 10 pound of muscle,” you are setting a goal.
This is interesting: when you accomplish your goals, you are reqarded with a tremendous boost of positive energy, which allows you to set and achieve ever grander goals! So, once you get this process started by achieving your first goal, you will feel it, and you will allo f the suddent start to create many exciting dreams for your life. That creates optimism and hope, which both feel pretty darn good to me! When I am optimistic, I can’t help but focus on the future. It is just so exciting, I can’t wait to get there!
The bad news is, when you don’t set and achieve specific goals, you can’t create greater dreams, and when you stop dreaming, you don’t have anything to look forward to, so you don’t look forward, you look down or back… you lose hope.
Here is a tip on how to set goals: find an example – someone who has achieved what you want to accomplish with your body and/or life – and set your goals based on that. Find someone who was in your present condition, or thereabouts, and take a long look at what he or she was able to achieve. The fact that they have done it is proof you can too.
A simple, yet very powerful practice is to be sure that you write down your goals. It works! Here’s proof: back in 1953, a Harvard University study showed that 3% of the students graduating that year actually wrote down their specific career goals. Twenty years later, a team of researchers interviewed the class of 1953, and found that the 3% who had written down their goals were worth more financially than the other 97% combined. (Make no mistake, writing down goals pays off, big time!)
When you set goals, what you are really doing is making promises – not to me, your family, or your friends, but to yourself. The promises we make to ourselves, although they are the ‘easiest’ to break, are by far the most important ones to honor. You see, the very essence of confidence is self trust.
Would you trust anyone who repeatedly lied to you? Someone who broke the rules of the game, again and again? Of course you would not? So, if you have developed a pattern of not honoring self promises, this is a great time to make a change. If you can’t honor, trust, and depend on yourself, well that may be the root of a lot of the challenges in your life – a lot more than you realize.
The thing about lying to ourselves is we never, never get away with it. We may fool our conscious mind into ignoring or not admitting what we are doing, but deep down, in the place where all truth resides for each of us, in the place where we know and see ourselves as we really are – in that place, we are causing pain and damage every time we are not totally honest with ourselves. Lie to yourself often enough and your self trust – your confidence – will fade away. Into that emptiness will seep uncertainty, anxiety, and a whole lot of complex crapola you do not even want to know about.
But you can change that. It is a lot easier to keep the promises we make to ourselves than it is to break them. And keeping those promises unleashes enormous energy and potential – that potential emptiness created by self-deception can also be filled with strength, certainty, and yes confidence if you honor self-promises. (We have all heard the phrase, “The truth shall set you free.” Well, nowhere is that more true than when we apply it to our relationship with ourselves.) Better yet” “To thine own self be true.”
Focus on your future vision!
Unfortunately, most people will never delovep a strong future vision for their lives. They will never admit to themselves, or anyone else, what their dreams really are, and they won’t put a deadline on those dreams and transform them into goals. Thus, most people will never even begin to harness their true potential. What they don’t realize is if they are not focused on their futures – if they are not consciously creating their lives – ten they are living accidentally, not intentionally. They are merely reacting to life.
When you have faith in your future vision, it creates resilience: when things do not go your way, you will be able to pick yourself up because your future vision will be stronger than your setbacks. Doing the particular things you need to do to move toward that future vision will become automatic, a habit. It is close to the certainty of religious faith – the comforting, assuring feeling that whatever happens will happen, but in the end, you will succeed.
It helps me to surround myself with photos and reminders which keep my future vision and goals on my mind. This is another simple yet powerful strategy.
Remember that everything we experience in the ‘real world’ is merely an external manifestation of what has already happened in your mind. That is where the relatively well known maxim, “If your mind can conceive it, you can achieve it” comes from. And it is true. If your mind , you see, anything is possible. So nourish your mind with postivie uplifting images… it’s worked wonders for me!
Face your fears!
Most people are afraid to change. They’re afraid to face the uncertainty which we all feel when we leave our ‘comfort zones.’ Some afraid of failing, and others, believe it or not, are afraid of succeeding. What is sad is most people do not realize they have become paralyzed by their fears. Millions of people with great potential have been ruined and their entire lives wasted because they do not face their fears head on.
You may recognize people who are afraid and hiding out in their comfort zones by their constant complaining about people who are moving forward. “See that guy over there? I’d have a great physique too if I worked out,” (Well then, why don’t you do it instead of just talking about it?) Rationalization and excuses have become the only form of “exercise” many people get.
Remember this: if you move away from your fears, they will eventually dominate your life. But if you move toward your fears and face them head on, they get smaller and smaller.
Make mistakes fast!
One of the things I have noticed is, people who try to get in shape or make another change, don’t measure their progress often enough. This is not good. I call this “failing in slow motion.” Some people do not notice what is not working until months or even years have been squandered. Then they look back and realize their error – they did not notice their mistakes sooner!
If you want to succeed fast, you need to be willing to make mistakes fast. And you must learn from your mistakes.
Don’t be one of those people who do exactly the same things in the coming months that did not work in the past and expect a different result. If you have not achieved the level of success you want, do not be so naïve as to think that if you make the same mistakes in the future as you did in the past, you will get a different result. If you want different results, you must allow yourself the opportunity to learn fast and take a different approach.
So, evaluate your progress at least once a month by measuring your bodyfar percentage and having a photo taken. Remember to celebrate your progress and also look for opportunities to do even better in the future. If you are not making progress, make a change, and keep changing until you start getting the results you want.
Please, don’t be afraid of change! Don’t do what so many good people do, which is “accidently” smother their true potential by clinging to what “seems” comfortable. Success is created by action. People who get results keep moving, even if they are a little fearful! They do not quit. Sure, there are always some forms on inconvenience and stress in your life that seem like they might be obstacles that would keep you from taking action. Your challenge is to succeed in spite of all this!
Don’t wait until you feel “ready” to take on a new challenge. Don’t fool yourself into believing now is just “too soon”. If you wait until everything is “perfect” in your life before you take action, you will be waiting forever! The time to do it is now.
The longer you wait before you take action, the more you delay the rewards that are rightfully yours. “Waiting” to change is not enough. Do something – please do something!
Don’t give up!
At times it might seem as if your goals are not attainable, in spite of your best efforts. That is normal – we all feel like that sometimes. In every challenge, there will come a time when the going gets tough! You have to break through these barriers! When you do, you will discover they were blessings in disguise. You see, we become stronger because of them!
Remember that as long as you are trying, you have not failed! When it feels like you have given it your best and it is time to let go, just keep holding on. Keep pushing like your life depends on it – it just might. Prove to yourself and others that you are a winner (winners finish what they start)! Honor your self promise! Focus on your reason for deciding to make a change and please do not give up on yourself! No matter what! You deserve to succeed! And when you do, you will feel a powerful, peaceful sense of pride and joy which no one can ever take away!