For the most part, we know what is good for us and what to do to improve ourselves and our situation. If you want to lose weight, eat less. If you want to get fit, exercise more. There are of course finer points to what works. In the same way that reducing or cutting out sugar, eating whole foods and exercising more will all help you sustain a healthy weight loss, there are finer points for all positive changes. But how do you effect lasting positive change and achieve transformation? How do you set yourself up for success?
I asked 10 people into self-improvement in a serious way what has helped them narrow the gap between what they want to do and what they are doing. They have made different changes to their lives from living a healthier lifestyle to improving fitness, losing weight, to changing their mindset and incorporating all sorts of positive habits and changes and transforming the lesser habits. The smaller changes have even lead to bigger ones, like starting a new business they love, buying a house, getting married and doing many things they always wanted to but never believed they could.
Here are their top 20 tips
- Just do it – this was the top answer. To incentivise it, plan a reward for yourself after.
- If you are not doing what you want to do, identify the blockages and find ways of overcoming them.
- One person said: ‘For me, the first thing is to admit to myself that what I am doing isn’t working for me and to ask myself if I am willing to change and move out of my comfort zone?’
- Be kind to yourself. And be honest. So often we gloss over things and tell ourselves convenient truths or are too hard on ourselves. It is important to see things as they are and see yourself as you are.
- Be open-minded and look for different ways of achieving the same result.
- Write it down and remind yourself regularly of your goals.
- Dig deep. Know why it matters to you. This makes it a lot easier to sustain rather than because you think ‘you should’.
- Stop looking for quick fixes.
- Make small changes and stick to them. Eg. If you want to get up an hour earlier, start by getting up 15 minutes earlier. Stick to it for sometime (say 21 days), integrate it as a habit and then increase by a further 15 minutes.
- Be consistent – 80% consistent is better than 100% once or for a few days.
- Be persistent. Never give up.
- Stop procrastination – Take at least one step towards where you want to go every day.
- Ask for help.
- Have a support group that encourages you.
- Have a mentor who reminds you of what you have planned.
- Be self-honest every day.
- Schedule things. Don’t just have a ‘to do’ list. Write down when you will do the specific activity.
- Set yourself up for success. E.g. if changing food habits, have the healthy food at your house ready to eat. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Do the ‘new’ things when you are at your best. Do not expect yourself to incorporate new habits at the end of a tiring day. Give quality time and ‘your best self’ to important changes.
- Stop making / believing the excuses you usually tell yourself. Don’t believe the limiting / negative self-talk. We often tell ourselves we will do this or that when xyz happens.
As Martin Luther King said: “The time is always right to do what is right’.
Hope this gives you inspiration to make lasting positive change in your life. If it does, we’d love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org