Recently, I asked the question Do You Really Want To Change? and I found it quite enlightening not only writing about it, but on the feedback I got from it. It seems that everyone out there wanting to change something about themselves or about their life is finding it hard to make changes last. So today I wanted to share with you my favorite 3-step system to making changes in your life stick for the long haul:
Raise your standards
What you expect and accept of yourself determines what you end up doing. For example, if you are a smoker, it’s because are allowing yourself to be this way. If you were to raise your standards to wanting to be a permanent non-smoker, then you would be accomplishing the first step into getting it done. It’s all about what you demand of yourself. If you are out of shape and eating poorly, that is because your standard for health and fitness is not high enough. Being in that shape is acceptable to you, otherwise you would not be that way at all. I have a friend that is very much into fitness. She needs to work out 2 hours per day, otherwise she feels like she is letting herself down. Her standard for fitness is much higher than someone sitting on their couch watching TV for those 2 hours. Another example I can give you is that the biggest reason why I got myself out of debt permanently as chronicled in my article How I Paid $25,000 in Debt Within 18 Months is because I raised my standards about money. I was no longer tolerating being in debt and living this way. This is why raising your standards is a crucial step in creating lasting change in your life.
Alter your beliefs
You can have very high standards but if you do not believe that you can actually accomplish them, you have already lost the game before it even starts. You need to be certain that you can get the job done, otherwise, you will be sabotaging yourself over and over again. For example, if you want to lose weight but you feel like you have so much to lose that it will be impossible or too hard, how in the world are you ever going to reach your potential higher standard with such a crippling attitude? You’ve just swiped the rug from underneath you. You will not even try with this kind of belief. Our beliefs are like our little “generals” inside our head, telling us what we can and cannot do. They affect every action and every thought that passes through our head. Therefore, changing our beliefs is necessary if we want to make any change last for good. This is important to develop a certainty that we can and we will meet the higher standards before we actually put it in action and do it for real.
Strategy in action
Once you have set yourself a higher standard and you have committed yourself to reaching it, I firmly believe that you will find a proper strategy to getting the job done. Where there is a will, there is a way! You can figure out your path on your own, try a few different things and see what works, or you can follow a role model and find out how they got to that position and then mimic what they have done to get where they are. For example, let’s say you want to make it big in real estate. You can go out there and put your creativity at work and try a few things to see what works best. Or, you can locate the top dog in that industry, find out all there is to know about that person, and then use that knowledge to get to the position you want to be in. Of course, you can reshape it, change it, make it more efficient, but at least you will have a “blueprint” for what you should be doing. In any event, regardless of your strategy, the important thing to remember is that you need to put it into action. A strategy that is not implemented is the equivalent of having no strategy at all, so keep that in mind.
So to make changes stick within your existence, start by first raising your standards, then wholeheartedly believing in your abilities to reach those standards. Finally, go out there and make it happen!