August 18, 2010

Does it have to get bad to get better?

In health psychology there is this theory about change (one of many) and it goes like this; the act of change must be less painful than staying the same (or something like's been a while since I was in school).  Basically, it suggests that it must be bad before it gets better.

With the people I work with (and from my own experiences) "rock bottom" means always feeling tired, taking way too long getting ready in the morning because nothing fits anymore, depression may hit due to feeling crappy about yourself all the time, sick and tired of always falling off the wagon after every attempt at "dieting"...I could go on, but I think you get the idea. You must be sick and tired of being sick and tired sometimes before you get up and yell "enough is enough!"

I certainly see this in my work.  In fact, I was stood up by a new client just yesterday and I knew it was going to happen before it did. She just didn't sound..."ready" on the phone making the appointment. I take pride in the fact that I can get a good idea of success in a matter of minutes sitting down with someone based upon the words they use.

When people blame others or tell me they have been sent by someone else or tell me reasons for their circumstance or do all the talking and not much listening, I know they aren't ready and our relationship will be short lived.

So consider asking yourself a couple of big questions before embarking on another "diet" or exercise program....

1. Why are you doing this? If it is because you want to fit into your old jeans or look good on the beach I guarantee you (guarantee you) you will not succeed. If you are doing it because your doc has told you will not succeed. If, however, you are tired of feeling sluggish or dealing with the excess weight, or want to life your life with more energy and less illness your chances are waaaaaaaay greater of success.

2. Are you TRULY ready? This is the big one. What will you do for your goal? What changes are you willing to make? Are you committed or will it take nothing to persuade onto another path? If you have ever tried to make a change only to get back into old habits sooner than were not ready.

I suggest grabbing a journal or a few sheets of paper and writing down the reasons for your change. If they are related to health, happiness, love, passion, and the like, they are great reasons. However, if your motivations are superficial (i.e. looking good for others) I would start there and start asking yourself why.

I could write pages on this topic so I will stop there. For me, thoughts about behaviour change and why people succeed or don't succeed are always on my mind. I lay awake at night trying to figure out the answer to change and I still can't do it. Yes, there are a ton of theories out there...but that's all they are.

One thing is for sure...the reason why people don't change is NOT about laziness or stupidity or a flaw in character. We are human and are influenced in ways we may not even understand.

So congratulate yourself on what you are doing right! If you are must be doing something right.

Have a great day! Enjoy the is almost back-to-school time!

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