BWW Weighs In: The Art of Possibility: 3 Steps to Creating Meaningful Behavior Change by Staci Jackson
How would your life change if you practiced the art of possibility?
Creating behavioral or habit change is really the art of possibility. It's creating and cultivating a new possibility in your life. This article was written for people who are looking to create long-term, sustainable changes in their lives.
I've broken it down into three parts: baby steps, consistency and patience. While this might seem pretty simple, it can also be incredibly challenging. However, armed with these tools the possibilities are endless as you create the masterpiece that is your life.
1. Start with Baby Steps
It's easy to underestimate the power of the basics, but the basics are the fundamental building blocks that help to solidify an effective foundation. While it's tempting to "go big or go home," let's take the alternative route and start with the smallest, easiest step that allow us to move toward our desired direction(s). Begin with "baby steps," as this is truly where long-term effective change must begin.
Momentum is "the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes."
It's easy to want to skip baby steps and fast forward to a behavior or habit that feels more exciting and fulfilling. This makes sense and is absolutely normal. However, if we take steps that are too big, too fast, it's often difficult to maintain the changes.
Sustainable change doesn't come from short, big bursts; rather, it's something that continues to grow stronger or faster as time passes. Sustainable change comes from establishing momentum.
Why not change everything at once?
For example, if the goal is to lose 15 pounds, people often jump right into tackling too many things at once - cutting out certain foods, counting every calorie, working out six days a week and so on. While these are all great choices that could potentially lead to incredible change(s), it's quite difficult to maintain all these behaviors for a long period of time when they're pursued all at once.
We often "bite off more than we can chew." (Pun totally intended.) This often results in people giving up before real change has been established.
Remember, the magic isn't simply in being able to create a change, but to sustain it over a period of time so it becomes a new normal. If it's too big of a step, chances are it will be too difficult to sustain the change.
How do I find the baby steps?
The best way to arrive at a baby step is to work backwards. Break down the ultimate goal into smaller and smaller steps. In the lose 15 pounds example, a great initial baby step might be eating veggies at one meal a day.
Once you have identified a possible baby step, ask yourself on a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to (in this example) add veggies into one meal a day?
If your answer isn't a nine or a ten, then it may not be the right baby step for you. Keep in mind that there is no "right" baby step - this is more about you knowing yourself well enough to set yourself up for success.
Discovering that first step is awesome, but alone it isn't enough to create sustainable change.
2. Nail Your Consistency
The real power lies in doing the baby step consistently. Consistency means nailing a baby step day after day, week after week. Think of it as practicing your baby step more often than not.
It's consistency that creates a new normal, compliance in the application of the new behavior into your life. "Practice makes permanent!"