I wrote a post last week about “Why will we do anything to avoid doing what we know will get us what we want?”, and a colleague of mine Yvonne Thompson, commented “I came to the conclusion that we are basically lazy and it is easier to grouse about our weaknesses and failures than to actually DO THE RIGHT THING.” Which inspired me to write today’s post! How do we turn a positive new behavior into an old habit! Which is actually a million dollar question.
I was inspired to write this post when Yvonne said “we are basiclly lazy”. Yvonne is an incredible business woman who has developed a successful online company where she offers the services of a virtual assistant and in doing so I know she consistently encounters professionals who know what they want but are struggling to atulize their outcome and in Yvonne’s comment she included herself in the group of folks she thinks are or can be, at times, lazy.
Now that said, the problem with this is two fold. Is it a common misconception to believe that people are or can be lazy. I personal do not believe there is a man or a woman on this planet that is actually lazy. I believe they are simply uninspired. People who appear to be lazy are fearful, unsure of themselves, and feel safer doing nothing then actually taking the risk of action. The only thing I have found in my three decades of exploring why people do what they do is to get a person to take a new action they must be inspired to the point of no return!
When a person has decided not one more day! This is when they act. Therefore the questions bodes how do you get yourself to the point of “I won’t take one more day of this and from this moment on things will be different? There is a basic formula that you can use to move yourself to action and one of the keys to forward movement is to acknowledge that you are not where you actually want to be. There will be no movement until you get to this point. BUT acknowledging you are not where you want to be is only part of the equation… lets break it down into 5 phases:
Phase 1 – Precontemplation: in this phase you are not even entertaining the idea of making any changes. You may know you are broke, overweight, or that some portion of your life is out of control or not what you want but you are not even thinking about doing anything about it. You are in the limbo of mediocrity.
Phase 2 – Contemplation: in this phase you have decided something is wrong and you are going to fix it next week. Or some other date off in the distant future. So many people live here. I will start eating right on Monday, after my birthday, the first of the year. Or I will take that trip once the kids are in grade school, high school, graduate, are off to college, when I retire. Or I will start my own business when the economy turns around, we have a new president, when I’m 50… you get the picture.
Someone looking at the life of another person in either one of these phases might think thoes people are lazy, lack motivation, are all talk, or are dreamers that will never do or amount to anything. But what I see when I talk to people in this phase is fear and lack of commitment to their idea of what they want. So many of us say or think we want something because of outside influences instead of inner passions or personal drive. When you say you want something that you personally don’t really identify with you will sit in these phases for months or even years!
When you go deeper and uncover what it is that YOU want or need this is when the magic happens! This is when you can’t stand it any longer this is when you are moved, inspired, and energized to take action!
Phase 3 – Action: in this phase you have moved into action. If you decided to lose weight you have joined the gym, cleared out the less then healthy food choices from your kitchen, and began taking the necessary steps toward the health and fitness level you want. If it’s a business you wanted to start you have come up with a name for your company, got your business licence, began looking for the funds you need, and are currently working on your marketing plan to name a few of the action steps you need to get you on your way to accomplishing what you want!
The first three steps are easy enough and simple but the next two steps is where it gets tricky and what you need to master to turn your new positive behavior into an old habit!
Phase 4 – Relapse: this is where you have been in the action phase for some time, could be weeks or months, you have experienced significant results toward you goal and for whatever reason you fall back into your preaction behavior. This can mean many things… full blown relapse is you are back in your precontemplation phase. You have given up and aren’t even planing to get back on track of your goals. You might relapse into the contemplation phase. Let’s say you have lost 20 lbs and your goal is to lose 35 lbs. You have gone to a wedding and over indulged, you have a birthday coming up in two days, and an anniversary the following week and you have decided to get back on track after your anniversary. This is fine as long as you keep your focus and follow through with your plans.
Phase 5 – Maintenance: this is the key to all of your future success and this is where you turn a new positive behavior into an old habit. The maintenance stage is where you continue to do the new behaviors that got you to your goal. For example with the weight loss. You started exercising at least 3 days a week, you now snack on fruit instead of chips or crackers, you drink water instead of soda or juice, just to name a few of the changes you made to lose the weight. The key is to continue this behavior and make it your new norm.
Where people fail is they think once they lose the weight or achieve whatever their goals is they can revert to the behavior or habits they had before the changes. And this is where the failure comes in. The changes or the new behavior is what got you to your goal. The old behavior is what was causing the weight gain or the lack of money or whatever area you decided you wanted to change. If you want to keep the weight off, if you want to continue to save your money and create wealth you MUST make your new positive behavior an old habit through the maintenance stage. You simply maintain your new behavior and the more you do it the more it will become second nature and before you know it it’s your new positive behavior has turned into an old habit!
What do you need to change in your your life? Are you ready to make that change right now? What two steps can you do in the next 20 minuets to move you toward that change?