Sunday, November 25, 2012

Setting and Reaching Goals: Change Theory 2

Yesterday I talked about Pre-contemplation, Contemplation and Preparation. Today we're ready to spring into action.

Action: Congratulations! You are doing it baby!! You're working the plan. This is one of the most exciting stages because the fruits of your labor are usually quite visible. This stage can also be a bit of a mine field so it pays to avoid becoming complacent. 

It's widely accepted that writing it down, whether "it" is a goal, your calorie or food counts, or your workout for today, is a great way to add insurance that you will stick with your plan.
I'll go a step further and suggest that you also have a plan to go back and review what you've written down on a regular basis. For me, quick weekly and a more in depth monthly review works really well. This allows you to see emerging patterns and make adjustments before you risk falling off your plan.

If you take the time to journal narative versus just using check boxes you might also catch yourself feeling less than happy or even frustrated with your plan. If you see this push aside guilt and consider changing your current plan.

Maintenance: Once you've reached your goal it's time to maintain it. This stage can be a bit
less exciting. It's for this reason that I suggest thinking on terms of considering an additional but related goal at this time. If you're eating well you might consider some kind of goal around trying new recipes or foods. If you're exercising regularly you might mix up your schedule or try a new activity for fun. The one thing you want to avoid at all costs is allowing things to become stale.

Relapse: Most people don't even want to think about this stage. I have to be honest with you and tell you that ignoring it most definitely won't make it go away. When I describe the process of creating smart goals you'll actually see that thinking ahead to things that might block your progress or even derail it can definitely  be a good thing. It's insurance.

Think successful people never relapse? I don't believe that for a minute. I relapse regularly. I consider my failure to finish the Ballet Body Periodization schedule a replapse of sorts. My relapses just don't last very long because I go into them with open eyes and immediately make a new plan for success. The key is to never blame yourself but realize that it is the plan that no longer works.

Tomorrow I'll introduce the concept of smart goals and explain why I think they help stack the deck in our favor where reaching our goals is concerned.

The challenge for today is to start thinking about the life area you identified as being ripe for change. Picture what it would mean to you if you were able to make positive changes in this area. What things around this change would challenge you? How might you overcome the challenges? Loads to think about but all for a good reason. 

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