Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Final Step (Step 3)

Step 3: Commit to change.

Now that you've written your "positive affirmation for change" (see Step 2), you're ready to set your action items.

At the top of the third column write,
"FROM NOW ON, I COMMIT TO: "

Write down three things you will commit to making part of your everyday routine which will support your affirmation for positive change. Include one goal in each of these three categories:

1. INTERNAL ENERGY
2. EXTERNAL ENERGY
3. SUPPORT

We’re aiming for reasonable, consistent movement forward which will set you up for long term success.

Meanwhile, we are reinforcing a state of mind and behaviors which will prevent the shed from filling up again.

1. INTERNAL ENERGY: Thoughts & Feelings
Someone recently told me that 80% of change is emotional. As far as I'm concerned, that makes this goal the most important. Plus it doesn't take any extra time, so there's that excuse out the door!

Starting now, make a commitment to yourself to really pay attention to your thoughts, self-talk and emotions, only giving energy to those which are consistent with your positive affirmation for change.

Here's a tip: If you’re not yet able to internalize and believe, “I amsimply reframe it to be, “I welcome.”

Admittedly, when I started out at 160+ lbs (5'2") and suffering from chronic fatigue, I had a hard time buying into telling myself, “I am fabulously fit, trim and vibrant.” I couldn't even buy into tying my own shoes some days! But I could say with confidence, “I welcome strength, health and vitality into my life now!”

In “welcoming” my goal state, it was also absolutely critical NOT to give energy to thoughts like, “I am such a blob.” “I am so exhausted.” “I hate my body right now...and my body hates me.”

Of course, those thoughts and feelings came up, especially in the beginning. Given your situation, you've likely been experiencing a variety of negative emotions as well. Of course - it's normal!

Another tip is to calmly acknowledge the negative feeling or thought but then just let it go by. It is there. Okay. But don't fight it or dwell on it. What you resist persists.

I once heard Eckhart Tolle give the description of just “tipping your hat” to it, as you would someone passing you on the street. Literally visualize this image and say, “Hello thought. I see you. Goodbye.” Nonchalantly dismiss the unhelpful thought and watch it drift off into the distance.

Focus on welcoming and greeting positive, helpful thoughts. Throw a party for the positive feelings. Give them energy and they will return energy to you.

Energy flows where attention goes.


2. EXTERNAL ENERGY: Do Something!
You know about action. Your initial instinct in trying to solve your current problem was likely all about external action. You have an overwhelming list of "should do's," "shouldn't do's," or "should have done's".

You now have my permission to stop "shoulding" all over yourself!

What one thing can you do as part of your everyday routine which supports your ideal scenario? Don't go crazy and think you're gonna empty the shed in one night. This external action just needs to get you moving -- literally or figuratively.

There’s a (really gross) expression about eating the elephant one bite at a time. In my (almost as gross) trash analogy, we’re going to empty the shed one bit o' trash at a time.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had old programming which made me believe that the only way I could get into "super fit and healthy mode" was to work out for two hours at a time. Maybe for a shorter period of time if I was killing myself in the process. Ironically, this belief eventually kept me from exercising at all. I got exhausted thinking about it!

Using my new process though, I committed to just walking in place for 15-minutes each day. That's all I did at first. Gradually I worked up to more time and different types of workouts. But it was a natural progression as my body and mind was ready.

Side note: If fitness happens to be your goal as well and you're not a huge fan of "exercise," I strongly recommend Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds" DVDs.

In the end, the secret to my success was my commitment to just do something every single day to support my positive affirmation for change. That commitment, which seemed so ridiculously small at first, created the momentum I needed to achieve my ideal scenario.

A body in motion stays in motion. Keep moving forward, even if it's in small steps.


3. SUPPORT: Help, Accountability & Reinforcement
This is pretty straightforward but so very important, especially with the really stinky problems.

Help can come in many forms. There are a variety of resources for almost any topic area. I'm a huge fan of online support groups. There are many support groups which meet locally as well. Both of these can be found pretty easily through your favorite Internet search engine.

You may also want to consider professional help, either paid or gratis. It might be appropriate for this "area expert" to provide help as a one-off or an ongoing basis. It depends on your situation.

Phone a friend. Go to church. Join a club. Call me. Expand your circle of energy.

Just remember: you have a much greater chance of success if you have others working along your side.


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