Gearing Up For Change
Making significant changes in your life can be hard. While you should expect some bumps along the way, here are seven things you can do right now to increase the likelihood that youll stay on track and take any temporary setbacks in stride.
1 Make a promise to yourself Call it a promise, a resolution, a vow, a pledge, a commitment. Whatever you name it, making it nonnegotiable is a way to help keep you from backsliding after your initial enthusiasm fades. Writing down your intentions can favorably influence the outcome, according to researchers at Dominican University of California. They separated 267 people ages 23 to 72 into five groups. The groups were assigned different tasksone group was to just think about goals they could achieve in four weeks, and the other four groups were to write down their four-week goals. The groups who wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve them than those who merely made mental vows. Among the goalwriters, one group did best of all: people who also shared their commitments with a friend and sent a weekly progress report to that friend. Their success rate was 76 percent of goals accomplished as compared to a success rate of only 43 percent for the group that did no goal-writing.
2 Visualize success Find a photo of yourself taken seven (or more) years ago at a happy time in your life and put it someplace that will remind you every day of how you were when you felt your best.
3 Write it down Research shows that a written record of your actions helps you achieve your goals. Keeping a food diary, for example, boosts your chances of sticking to a healthy diet.
4 Go public Tell a friend or a group of buddies about your commitment, and then check in with the person or group regularly so you are accountable to someone other than yourself. Choose one or more people who will support and encourage you along the way. Consider making this process a family affair as well. Whether you share your progress with your spouse, children, or other relatives, make sure those closest to you understand and appreciate that youve set a new goal for yourself and give you the time and space needed to accomplish it.
5 Plan ahead to make time Develop a schedule that allows for time to follow the program. Think of it the same way you think of your other important appointments, and make sure the people in your life understand and support the program. Whether its scheduling me time on your calendar or instituting a daddy-cooks-dinner night, developing a new schedule that builds in time for you will help you reach your goals and let everyone share in that success.
6 Focus on the horizon As you go through the planeven as early as the second day on itlook back at how far youve come, not ahead at how much you still have left to do. Scientists call this the horizon effect. It creates encouragement (Ive done twice as much as a week ago!) and builds determination (Ive made it this far; I might as well keep going). At the end of each week, take a moment to reflect on what youve accomplished, and use your success as the basis for ongoing inspiration.
7 Stay positive Youll do the best you can, but at some point you may mess up. And not just once. Dont feel guilty or ashamed (youre human!). Remember, making small changes consistently over time is the key to achieving and maintaining a younger you. Congratulate yourself for all that you have done already, and get back on the proverbial horse as soon as possible.
Simply setting out to learn how you can age beautifully and live longer is a step in the right direction, and when you see how far your age-erasing efforts go, we think youre going to want to stay on the path. Most of all, we think youll be amazed at how much the rejuvenation of your body and mind reinvigorates your spirit. Theres no better way to achieve a youthful zest for life than taking the time to pursue good health and happiness.