The hardest part of achieving success in reaching one’s goals is making them last. Experiencing initial, but short-lived, success is almost more encouraging than not trying at all. Succeeding and failing is probably one of the hardest experiences most of us ever endure, and often sets us up for more disappointment and failure. I’ve fought these battles many times myself, and often wouldn’t start over, because the loss was simply too devastating or disappointing. So we rinse and repeat, until it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, allowing us to keep the cycle going, while recreating our chosen mediocre or unhappy lives.
I’ve fought these battles many times myself; the battles of reaching a goal I really wanted to reach, then failing miserably and having to start over. Well, sometimes not starting over at all, because the loss was simply too devastating or disappointing. Most of us don’t do well with disappointment and simply won’t try again, therefore setting ourselves up for more failure; until it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, allowing us to wallow in our own self-pity, while recreating our self-created mediocre or unhappy lives.
If one desires lasting results, one has to be willing to do the work; and the work consists of a commitment to make permanent changes to one’s behaviors! This is why diets or self-help programs consistently fail. If one chooses to make a change, one has to stay committed to certain adjustments; this is also called persistence! Going back to the way one behaved before will translate into going back to where one came from, and hence, undoing whatever work one accomplished to begin with.
The idea of having to permanently alter one’s behavior seems daunting and not too inspiring, to say the least. But what most people seem to forget is that change in human beings is not as hard as it seems. Most habits are broken within a few weeks. Consistency is the key, and the mind adopts new habits rather quickly. After all, we are all creatures of habit!
Of course, the psyche is not as easily changed. Neural pathways are not that easily rewired and the process of rewiring is literally painful and physically uncomfortable; after all, changing brain chemistry is no different than breaking an addiction. But no matter how daunting it may sound it is definitely not impossible. This is why commitment and consistency are key ingredients to success. The longer one sticks with “the program,” the easier it actually becomes, not just figuratively speaking.
The hardest part of commitment is the “doing whatever it takes.” Depending on what the goal is, the commitment and therefore sacrifice required can be seemingly impossible. To permanently change an addictive behavior such as drinking, over-eating, drugs, being self-loathing or self-destructive, etc., one has to change parts, if not all, of one’s environment; and that is what sets a lot of people up for failure. The “darker” the path, the more severe the changes in behavior and environment have to be in order to succeed. It is impossible to kick a destructive habit, while staying in an environment filled with enablers or those who engage in the same behaviors you are trying to stop.
Achieving success is a multi-step process. It starts with the commitment to change, then the research in finding those who can support, guide or facilitate the desired path, and finally, taking the actions required, and being persistent in said actions. I would also highly encourage people to not cling to closely to time-lines and to use “positive language” (i.e. achieving physical health, instead of stopping to do a bad thing), as well as understanding that there will be failures and setbacks on the way. It’s just that one will learn that setbacks and failing now and then on one’s path does not equal permanent failure, or worse, being a failure!!
How does one make the commitment? Weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself what is important to you and why. Imagine your life 10 years down the road from now without changes and then again with having reached the goals you want to set. After having done that, simply choose the path that leads away from the future life that is unbearable, unhappy and filled with pain and disappointment and choose the one that promises happiness and the highest rewards. That’s how I did it, and it worked like a charm.
4 thoughts on “How to Make Sure Positive Changes Last”
Yep, I focus on my progress and I don’t ever set a time goal, i.e. I HAVE to be a size x by date x. Instead, I just keep going, committed to the goal, regardless of how long it may take me to get there 😀
Great article Carmen
It’s usually not the program failing us, but us failing the program. Staying the course and focusing on the process is key for me. When I focus on the process I can better see what changes I need to make for the next time around.
oh yes sticking to it and making it last…
the hardest part is always balance….wonderful article, carmen.
I really loved this article….. and think that they should post it again for New Years Eve.
Blessed Be )O(
Gina Rose ext.9500