Reaching goals requires change. But change is hard. Making changes that stick can be even harder. If you aren’t happy with your current wellness and have a strong desire for things to improve so you can serve yourself and your loved ones better, changes that stick are necessary. I have discovered four secret, non-negotiable keys to make lasting change a reality.
Here they are:
Goals to Habits
Plan and Prepare
Non-negotiables are requirements for success. As you read, consider which of these areas may need your attention or implementation. Let’s take a little time to discuss each one in order. Because the order is important. If you don’t change your mindset first, nothing else will fall into place
1. Mindset Shift
No change will happen if your mind isn’t set on the right things. Self-defeating thoughts can’t be here. How you think about your situation dramatically affects your outcome. People can have the same goals, but the right mindset brings success. For example, using the phrase, “I am trying to lose weight so I can’t eat that,” versus saying, “eating that doesn’t go with my healthy self.” See the difference in perception? One statement focuses on external while the other declares who you are.
Here are a few strategies to help you change your mindset:
Move from victim to victor. You have to declare you have victory over this already. You are already who you want your future self to be. You just have to go through the process to get there. For me, this is where calling myself a “warrior” comes in to play.
Reword your language. To help the right mindset stick, speak words that confirm your success and your new healthy life. Be excited. This is your beautiful life!
Know your true why. Why do you want the future self you desire? This is personal and the thing that will drive you to stay on track. I discuss this in more detail in my blog 5 Simple Steps to Creating Sustainable Habits.
Surround yourself with an encouraging tribe. Friends, family, what you view on IG and FB, music you listen to, books you read, etc. Get rid of the negative, false, and graceless messaging.
Consider writing down your current mindset regarding your wellness goals. Then, write down the new mindset you need to have. Cross out the negative thoughts. They are no more. Circle the new. They replace the negative. You may have to work on your mindset everyday. Get out of bed with thoughts of victory every single day!
Once you make a mindset change, the next non-negotiable is establishing habits. But we’re not going to focus on the big goal first, instead, we’ll tackle small habits.
2. Goals and Habits
Goals are achieved by creating habits that support the outcome you ultimately want for your future self. So, consider your goal... whether it is weight loss, decrease blood pressure, reverse diabetes, feel better, prepare for a sporting event, take more time for self, have more energy, etc… make a list of all the habits you need to develop or change that will get you to your goal. Makes these specific.
Here are some example habits:
Eat 2 fist sized portions of veggies with every meal
Remove snacking after 8pm
Walk 30 minutes 5 days/week
Take 1 minute to deep breath daily
No electronics after 9pm
You may even need to start smaller than these listed above and then increase over time. For example, if working out 30 minutes five times a week is too daunting, you might consider starting with 10 minutes 2 times a week for the first couple of weeks, then increase.
I don’t recommend starting all at one time with every habit you need to make or change. That is overwhelming. It stresses me out! Pick one or two and focus on those for four weeks. Let them become habits and then once they are, add something new or increase the intensity of these habits. Again for the next two to four weeks. Maybe longer. Overnight - it ain’t happening! You must have realistic expectation which takes us back to mindset. That may be one you need to change.
I am a firm believer that there is always room for healthy habits, no matter how busy your life is. That leads us to the next non-negotiable.
3. Plan and Prep
Goals, habits, and change don’t just happen by thinking about what you need to do. No matter how much we wish this was the case, we all know it doesn’t work that way. You have to create a plan for it. How will you practically implement these habits into your life?
If you think your life is just too busy, I dare you to make the time in your schedule. Just try it. Refocus your priorities. Your mindset shift will help you with that. If it matters to you, you will make the time. Just like we discussed in the habits section above, you may want to start small.
I have worked with plenty of people who thought their schedule just couldn’t accommodate healthy habits. That is unfortunate because your health is so much more important than your agenda. When these clients took a few minutes to plan and prep for the week, scheduling the necessary time on their calendar and refusing to change it, they realized they had the time. Now, they can’t imagine their week otherwise. So I just dare you! Plan what you need to do. Schedule the time to do it. Every week is different, so I recommend weekly planning to see what you need to prepare in order to establish your habits and achieve your goals.
Here are some ways people plan and prep for the week:
Take 30 minutes on Sundays to make salads
Make sure workout clothes are ready and packed the night before
Set a phone reminder to take a break
Look up one new recipe to try each week
Now that you have refocused your mindset, picked your habits, and planned and prepared for a week of success, let’s not let all that effort go to waste. The cherry on top to ensuring success is having a system of accountability.
4. Accountability System
Accountability can be tricky. Coming up with an accountability plan means you are REALLY committed, you REALLY want the change. Without a system of accountability, you could fall off the horse and not get back on because you don’t have a driver to push you back or keep you where you need to be.
Accountability can come in different forms and you have to pick what will work best for you. Some suggestions are:
Simplest: Create a calendar or check sheet to mark your success.
Social: Post it on social media along with your progress.
Group: Get a group of friends and work out together or join a group.
Friend: Share your goals with a family or friend who you will support you.
Hire: Get yourself a coach.
Setting up an accountability system may make sound a little nerve wracking. It makes me nervous because I can’t back out of the habits I am trying to create. Although it may seem like you are restricting yourself, you may just find it can be freeing to openly share your challenges and have accountability support.
So there they are - the four non-negotiables for reaching your health goals so you can feel good and overcome your previous struggles and challenges.
If you have tried in the past to create change, which one of these 4 non-negotiables was missing? Which one do you need to implement now to achieve your goals for your future self?
I have a great starter tool to help you implement these steps. Download the Warrior Approach Accountability Calendar. The accompanying worksheet will help you clarify your why (mindset) and break down goals to habits. Then, the calendar provides a place for you to plan and hold yourself accountable. This free resource comes with emails providing you guidance, encouragement, and support. If you are looking for a coach to keep you accountable with these non-negotiables, I can help you. Schedule a 20 minute complimentary call with me to discuss your goals. We can work one-on-one or you can join the next group session.
Overcome like a warrior!