Spark Inspiration

Changing Behaviors — The First Step

6671704_mRecently, I overheard a conversation between two colleagues. They were planning ways to increase their physical activity, sharing ideas and resources. They each committed to support the other in their workout plan. It made me smile to hear the positive affect our culture of wellness at work has had on their personal choices.

For anyone who has made the decision to change a behavior, you may know it doesn’t feel easy. It can feel scary or even overwhelming. Given this, having someone who supports your new behavior can go a long way in helping you to take the first step.

The first step often feels the hardest because you don’t quite have your momentum built up. It’s unfamiliar territory. The first step is also something easy to talk yourself out of. Here are some ideas to encourage you towards your first step:

1)   Don’t do it alone – Seek out people with whom to share your experience. Not only will you have someone who can share your journey, you may also discover you have a new friend.

2)   Make your first step a bold one – Whether the first step is a small or big one, it will feel BIG! This is the way I look at it. It like getting into a cold pool of water, jumping in is less painful than a slow immersion. It’s a risk either way. You may as well just be fully committed.

3)    Prepare for the change – Create a list of the supports and resources you need to succeed. Look for potential barriers and make a plan about how you want to handle them when they arise. Change isn’t about sheer willpower. It’s about creating a situation in which you can consciously choose your new behavior.

4)   Let go of perfection – Let’s face it. None of us is perfect. Just as you wouldn’t yell at a child who falls just as they are starting to walk, be kind with yourself. With practice, you will get better at whatever you choose to do.



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