Most of us are often thinking about making changes in our lives. Whether big or small, change if often an inevitable part of life itself. When we desire a change, we often want to make that change RIGHT NOW and we want it to be quick and painless. The problem is that with any life change, it is not realistic to expect change to occur immediately, and this can create stress and feelings of disappointment, which can then discourage further change. It is more helpful to develop one larger goal, and then to develop a plan of steps to take to reach that goal. For example, if your goal is to eat healthily or lose weight, you can create daily routines for a healthy diet and weekly routines for exercise.

Creating a plan is important to achieve change and to remain motivated while taking the steps to reach goals. First things first: identify what change or changes you want to make. Try to be as specific as possible in stating your change goal. For example, if you say your goal is to “be healthy,” this could mean a lot of different things all at once, which can be overwhelming. When stating your goal, try to make it measurable. For example, if your goal is “to improve sleep,” identify how you would like it to improve, such as “increase sleep by 2 hours each night,” or “sleep 8 hours per night.” This will make it easier to recognize and acknowledge when you have achieved your goal or made progress towards your goal.

Next, identify the reasons why you want to make a change. If you want “to improve sleep” or “to lose weight” identify why you want to do these things. Having a reason for developing your goals can increase and maintain motivation for achieving goals. Now, think about the steps you can take to create change. Consider each of your daily tasks and activities and ask yourself if each activity contributes towards your goal for change, or moves you away from your goal. For example, if your goal is “to improve sleep” but you normally drink caffeine late at night, consider how this is interfering with your goal and what you could do differently. Come up with a few steps for reaching your goal and ask supportive friends or family members for some input.

Speaking of friends and family, consider how other people could help you with your goals for change. If your goal is to eat less sugar and you live with your parents or spouse who cooks meals, ask them to help by including less sugar in meals or using replacement products. Sometimes, having a goal with a ‘buddy’ and working together towards your shared goal can also be helpful in maintaining motivation. You can support each other when times get tough!

Finally, consider anything that might get in the way of your change plan, or interfere with your goal. For example, if your goal is to eat less sugar but you have a friend’s birthday party, be prepared to decide if you want to eat sweets at the party or skip the cake. Being aware of potential barriers to change can be helpful to prevent major downfalls.

If you would like more information about making a change or want help making changes of your own, call Specialized Therapy Associates at (201)-488-6678 to learn about therapeutic services and coaching services that can assist you.