Do you struggle to keep up with your changes in the long term? Maybe you want to lose weight or exercise more. Maybe you're trying to be more assertive and get better at setting boundaries. You start off strong, making good headway, only to fizzle out a few months in.
What can you do to keep the momentum going?
Here are three secrets of people who successfully maintain their changes in the long term.
Stay vigilant and recognize that you're on a journey.
People who successfully maintain their changes don't allow themselves to get lulled into a false sense of security prematurely; they stay vigilant. They understand that making and sustaining long term change requires ongoing effort, and they commit themselves to the journey. As you experience breakthroughs and grow increasingly comfortable with your new habits, be prepared to continue investing thought, time, and energy as you continue on your journey.
Know your vulnerable spots, and leverage your strengths to balance those spots.
We all have our weaknesses and vulnerable spots, where we're most likely to stumble. Don't fall into the trap of ignoring these areas and pretending they don't exist, as that doesn't help in any way. Instead take a strategic approach: identify your strengths and use those strengths to shore up your weak areas.
For example: let's say your weakness is getting nervous and overwhelmed when you deal with a particular family member, which makes it difficult for you to maintain your boundaries. Consider about how you can draw on your strengths to counter this. Is humour your secret weapon? Think about ways you can use humour to ease tension and bring in some levity, while enforcing your boundaries clearly and firmly.
When you get off track, take prompt action to course-correct quickly.
You've likely heard it many times before: it doesn't matter how many times you fall down, as long as you get back up. When you find yourself getting off track, recognize that this is normal and quite common. Don't panic, and don't start beating yourself, as this can lead to depression, discouragement, or some other form of a downward spiral.
Instead, take prompt action to course-correct as quickly as possible. Reflect on your setback as long as necessary to understand what went wrong and how to set things right — but not any longer! Stay focused on where you want to get to and what you're trying to achieve, and then resume steps to get yourself back on track.
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