Motivating yourself to do something is the hardest part of making changes in life, especially when you are not in the habit of doing whatever something is. It doesn’t matter if you want to go to the gym, improve your diet or make any other change in your life, the need to develop a new habit is the biggest part of the challenge. Even if you are really excited about making changes, until the activity is habit, you can very easily stray from the plan. Setting yourself a clear vision is vital to success and providing yourself with short-term wins will help the habit stick. Anyone familiar with John Kotter’s work will understand this. Based on his model, I have created a simpler version.
The OSL Life Change Method
- Want to make a change
- Fix a clear vision of the change in your mind
- Celebrate each small step
- Don’t stop now
For a new habit to take hold, you need to do it ten times or for thirty days. This means that an activity you do once or twice a week, it will take a month to become habit. An activity you do three or more time will become habit after ten repetitions.
A practical example
1. Want to make a change.
I do- this has been covered before! I really want to improve my fitness.
2. Fix a clear vision of the change in your mind.
With the trip to Wales just over 4 months months away, I really need to head back to the gym. Two solid days of picking motorbikes up is likely to take it’s toll on me. Having the strength to last out and enjoy the trip will make all the difference. This will be my focus.
3. Celebrate each small step
I have stated in my resolutions that I want to be start by building up to a 10k run. When I get there, it is important to recognise the achievement. If this was a harder challenge, I might set a reward for the half way point. My mind has to link achievement with reward. It can be something simple like getting a take-away. Anything that feels like a reward!
4. Don’t stop now
You may reach the goal you originally had in mind quicker than you thought (or longer, it makes no difference). It is really important that you do not stop. Set yourself new goals, whatever it takes to keep you progressing along the new lines you have been working towards. Stopping at this point will cause a failure, continuation will embed the new habit in you completely!
To make changes in our lives requires a change in habits! Developing a new habit is hard! You need to have a good idea of what you want to achieve, be committed and beyond everything else, be able to do it. Make sure you reward small steps as this will keep you focused. Finally, remember that repetition is key and will provide the solid foundation you need to make the change. Follow the above steps to improve your chances.