Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Making Changes ???

On January 1st, 2007 at 12:01am, people around the world made promises to themselves to make changes in their lives. In fact, every year almost everyone world wide is minted up by the desire to plan a wonderful New Year! We plan vacations, we tell ourselves that we are going to make drastic lifestyle changes, and we imagine that any goal can be achieved. We eagerly make New Year's Resolutions and set our biggest goals ever! It's a perfect time to reflect on the changes we want to or need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Resolutions, IF carried out successfully not only act as short-term goals to success but also help in improving life and overcoming those habits, which we ourselves do not like.

The unfortunate reality and the truth of the matter, of course, is that for most people the year goes by with little or no change.

DO NOT act surprised...because most of you have been there!

This has happened so frequently that the definition of New Year's Resolution from the Wikipedia Encyclopedia is: A New Year's resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain until the set goal has been achieved, although many resolutions go unachieved and are often broken fairly shortly after they are set.

We continue to do our jobs and live our lives the same way and low and behold our dreams don't come true. Some small things do change, but life doesn't seem all that different. Not like we hoped and told ourselves they would the morning of the New Year.

As Scott Boyle (a fellow 'swim upstreamer') shared in "Motivation Tips for the Weary Resolution" blog, people can increase their chances to stay motivated by:
  • Understanding the stages of change
  • Use visual cues, contracts, and variety in their routine
  • Utilize the SMART principle when setting goals

However, people MUST start to understand that change takes time...and takes effort. If it took little time to change and was easy, the world would continually change for the better and everyone would fullfill their New Years resolutions. But it isn't a reality so don't every kid yourself that it is.

It is also necessary to be aware of the changes that you are making so that you can monitor your own progress in becoming better/fulfilling your goals/changing your lifestyle/etc. The four stages of awarness are:

  1. Unconscious incompetence - being completely unaware of what needs to change
  2. Conscious incompetence - being aware only after you make a mistake and you catch yourself resorting to your old habits
  3. Conscious competence - being aware of the necessary choices that you have to make to make change possible (continually reminding yourself)
  4. Unconscious competence - making the changes without thinking (it is natural).

So, become unconsciously competent in any area of your life you wish to change. But first understand that you cannot get there and make those necessary steps without the TIME and EFFORT required!

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