Enough is enough! This month you are absolutely going to tackle that health issue that’s been bugging you for so long. You are going to find that health and happiness that you’re craving. Whether it’s losing those extra pounds, sorting out that rubbishy IBS, kick those headaches to the kerb once and for all, or simply to get a whole lot healthier, fitter and shinier!!
Diving in with HUGE enthusiasm.
So what is the next step? You dive in with huge enthusiasm!! You’ve got the bit between your teeth and you’re all set to go, super excited about all the wonderful things you will achieve. You’re going to eat healthily, change your lifestyle and get in the best shape of your life.
We all do it! This diving in thing, that is. It’s completely understandable, I mean, you’re excited about the results and all the changes you’re going to see. You can’t wait to get to the other side and feel incredible. There’s no time to lose, right?!
Breathe and pause
Enthusiasm and motivation are fantastic. But I want you to breathe and pause for just a minute. Let me share something very powerful with you, that will mean your new project will not only be far more successful, you will enjoy the whole journey so much more.
The truth is that if you rush into things you’re more than likely setting yourself up for failure. So give me a few minutes of your time, go on and read the rest of this post and then you will be in a much better position to have your project be a huge roaring success. Because you deserve the king of health and happiness, right?
The circle of change: 5 steps to success
To create real and lasting change of ANY kind, and especially so when it comes to your health, you need to navigate a circle of change. This is how to make sure that your projects will be more effective, more powerful and far more enjoyable.
What this means is that you will lose weight, get fitter, sort that IBS, deal with that fatigue, and any of the health projects so many of us struggle with, so much better and far more effectively, if you think of it as a ‘circle of change’.
There are 5 steps to the circle of change. These were originally set out as the 5 stages of change by Prochaska and he called them:
So let me put these into plain english and explain them a bit more!
Precontemplation is the stage where you are not aware that there is an issue or problem that you’d like to solve. Think of this as ignorant bliss! It’s likely that you have already gone through this stage, or else you wouldn’t be here reading this, looking for ways to set yourself up for success.
Contemplation is what I like to call ‘thinking about it’. This is the stage where you are aware there’s an issue, that your health is not all it could be and that you are wondering what you could do about it. You might be looking at different websites, reading this and that, checking out podcasts and just letting your mind mull over things.
Preparation. This speaks for itself but I just want to say this- in my humble opinion, this one is THE MOST POWERFUL and MOST IMPORTANT. Why? Because this is the one that sets you up for success. Once you move past this point, you’re totally dependent on how well you prepared yourself, how well you sowed the seeds for your own success. For the next two steps to lead to the results you’re hoping for, you need to do this step well.
Action. This is where you do what you planned to do. You are taking powerful, intelligent and consistent daily action to move you towards your goal.
Maintenance. This is what happens after you reach your goal. You did it! And now what? More on this in a mo.
Where are you right now?
Honour where you are. If you are currently more in the ‘think about it’ than the actual planning stage, that’s totally fine. Enjoy that phase, knowing that the natural progression is that you will move through to the next stage when you are ready. There is no need to force this. And in fact, if you do force it, you lose some of that natural strength, power and joy that comes from taking things one ‘Prochaska step’ at a time.
In my experience, we are usually so keen to get to the finish line, that we just bolt right out the gate and throw ourselves into the new project.
But simply taking a bit of time to plan, prepare, and do the research, talk to people who have successfully done what you want to do, and plan your journey through, pays off enormously in the long run.
Preparing for success
First of all, the knowledge that any health project involves a series of steps, where we move from ignorant bliss to thinking about it, to planning, to actively getting ready, to take inspired daily action and then maintaining those great results, is incredibly powerful.
You will be far more successful in your health projects if you follow these steps and use them as stepping stones to guide your progress than if you just dive straight in and hope for the best.
So let’s start with the first step: getting ready!
Think of getting ready for your health project like planning for major surgery. You’d research it wouldn’t you? You’d talk to people, find the best person for the job, call in the experts, and weigh up the pros and cons. You’d think carefully about the best timing, about what support you might need and is it really worth it in the long term, what’s the ROI?!
Planning your health project is the same. And yet how often do we rush in on a whim, on an impulse, dazzled by some promise of instant success. When we know that’s not how it rolls in life.
3 Steps to getting ready
So here are the 3 steps to getting ready:
- Be ultra clear on exactly what you want and why you want it.
- Know what it’s going to take to get the job done
- Consider what support/ resources you will need to get the best possible outcome
What difference will it make to plan and to get truly ready?
- You will take more powerful action
- You will have greater success
- The results are guaranteed – because let’s face it you wouldn’t sign up for something that doesn’t work, right?
- You can enjoy the journey as well as the destination
- You will grow as a person. It’s not all about the results, though they are important. It’s also about who you get to be. Think confidence, knowing yourself so much better, self-worth, self-love, self-esteem, self-care.
- Feeling powerful
- Feeling in control
Ready, Set, Go!
I’m not saying that if you have already rushed into something, you won’t succeed. Far from it. But what I am saying is – especially when it comes to the bigger, more challenging projects – taking the time to prepare, plan, get ready, and know for sure that you are 100% committed and have exactly what you need in place will mean that success is almost guaranteed.
So, only once you are ready is it time to press play, take your foot off the brake and press the accelerator pedal.
Why maintenance is just as important.
The part most of us love is getting into action, because then we can really feel we are moving forward, we are in control and working towards that health and happiness we desire. This is where we are chasing the dream and it feels fantastic, full of hope and excitement.
For most of us, we take action until we get to our goal. It makes sense. You have got to where you wanted, you’re happy, everyone is saying how well you have done, you have made new friends, and life looks rosy.
So now it’s ‘just’ a question of maintenance and keeping up the good work. Suddenly we are no longer building and progressing but instead we are spending time ‘standing still’. It’s not as sexy or exciting, and no one is really all that interested because you’ve achieved the pinnacle. You’ve planted the flag on top of Mount Everest.
Two more pearls of wisdom
The first is that, just like the action phase, the maintenance phase is also an active phase. You need to plan for it, be clear on your goals and have a plan as to HOW you will show up every single day. You also need to get clear about your why, your reasons for doing this, as the buzz around your project settles down into a more ‘this is the new normal’ kind of vibe.
The second is that 95% of people in maintenance will ‘fall off the wagon’ and need to circle back into the action stage. The important thing about this statistic is that it is NORMAL to fall off the wagon, it’s just that this is the part no one really talks about.
You need to EXPECT it to happen. That there is nothing wrong with ‘ falling off the horse’ when you get to the maintenance phase. This is where so many people go wrong: they work hard to get to a result e.g. lose 2 stone, then they get there and don’t plan for the maintenance, and if it goes’ wrong’ they think they have failed. Instead of realising that this is perfectly normal, and in fact it is to be expected!!
All of which means that it is quite likely you will go around the loop of preparation/ action/ maintenance a few times. And this is FINE! It’s NORMAL!!
This is why it is called the Circle of Change. It is supposed to be a circle, not a straight line. In other words, expect to go round and round a few times. The problem with the term ‘falling off the wagon’ is that we think of it as having failed. We see it as a negative thing. This is where we beat ourselves up and think “Oh no, I’ve failed again!”. But it is not true. You haven’t failed. You are simply on the first rung of the ladder and there are a few more to go. Circling like this is simply how we as humans move through a process of change.
So now you understand the cycle of change, before you get started on working to have the health and happiness you dream of, I hope that you will:
– Take the time to plan and prepare
– Not jump in until you are truly ready
– Understand why you’ve burnt out in projects in the past
– Enjoy the journey
– Celebrate achieving your goal
– Be savvy about active maintenance
– And if you ‘fall off the wagon’, realise this is normal, pick yourself up and get back into action.
Fancy joining other fabulous women who are on their journey to finding health and happiness? Come and join my Facebook group, Recover Your Energy Naturally.