Are you suffering from PMS, fatigue, mood swings or depression and know that a lifestyle change is needed to get the relief you so badly desire—but just can’t seem to make the change? Do you procrastinate or you push yourself hard for a week, then give up on the idea all together? Or are you simply having a difficult time breaking an old unhealthy habit and developing a new healthier one?
I’ve seen friends struggle for years unable to change their unhealthy lifestyles. And I’ve seen my father quit smoking and drinking effortlessly and permanently after he was diagnosed with diabetes.
What made the difference?
Motivation, if you ask me.
If you have a strong enough motivation, you can move mountains. And if you don’t, things pretty much stay status quo. In my dad’s case, his motivation to live made him change some serious life-long habits at the drop of a hat.
But I’m motivated, you say. I’m sick and tired of PMS, mood swings and depression. I want to create a healthier life, but I just don’t seem to be able to do it.
Then I’d ask, “What’s holding you back?”
The truth is that there’s a good reason for your keeping your unhealthy habits. If it’s an entrenched habit, it probably satisfies a very important need you have. If you struggle with overeating, food probably gives you a sense of control, intimacy and comfort. And unless you find an alternative and healthier way to satisfy those important needs, you’ll probably keep shoveling food down your throat.
To change, you need to make your motivation for that change so strong it overpowers the status quo.
I’m going to suggest a simple exercise to help you strengthen your motivation for a positive change.
First, identify a current lifestyle habit you want to change, and list both the positives and negatives for this particular habit.
How, and in what ways, does it serve you? And how, and in what ways, doesn’t it serve you? Compare the positives and negatives. Do the negatives outweigh the positives, or is it the other way around?
Then write down a new habit that you’d like to cultivate to replace the old habit.
And again list both the positives and negatives, and compare the results.
After you finish the exercise, ask yourself “Why do I want to make the change?”
See what comes to mind. Do you have a strong enough “why” (positive or negative) to propel you forward?
If you have a strong enough “why,” you can almost always figure out the “how.”
A journey of thousand miles starts with the first step. Take the first step now. Once you’re on the right path, all you need to do is to keep walking.