Think back. Can you recall a time in your past when you were experiencing success in a specific area of your life? It's often helpful to have people reflect back on a time in their life when they felt really good about themselves either physically, relationally, spiritually, or financially.
For example, they remember a time when they were in pretty good shape and how they felt at that time. Or they recall another time when their key relationships were strong and vibrant and how safe and secure that felt.
However, now those thoughts only bring about guilt (or perhaps shame). They often feel like a failure and wonder how they could have let things slide downhill so far. The climb back up seems too steep to even contemplate.
But when those thoughts and stories surface, it's often a light-bulb moment. It’s evidence the capacity to do it is there. What's changed, most likely, are circumstances. Subtle changes are almost always at the root of behaviors that morph toward the negative over time. It’s not intentional...it just happens.
Drawing on their past experiences and recalling what they had been doing right spurs hope for the future. There's now a realization that they can reclaim and recapture those same behaviors.
Taking them back to their best self causes those mental images to resurface. They can recall and relive what they were doing right in the past. Very often just a simple recalibrating and recognizing of past victories sets them on healthier and happier path.
Can you recall a time when you were being the person you admired and doing the things you desired? If so, draw on those experiences and rewrite your future.
Remember, the (physical, relational, spiritual, financial) health status you’ll enjoy 20 years from now will largely be determined by the choices you make between now and the next 20 years.
If you need a boost getting started, find the help you need to start your climb.
Do you invite and welcome feedback and suggestions so you can get better? For many years, I didn’t. Without doing psychoanalysis, I’m guessing it’s because I didn’t want to feel like there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want to admit that I might have been saying or doing the wrong things.
However, I eventually realized that feedback was my friend. I adopted a mindset that there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. I also realized that if I would be more open to change and grow, it would prompt my kids to be more accepting of feedback, as well. Thinking about them instead of me was key.
When I, as a parent, solicit feedback and am open to change, it models a very critical attribute that will be fundamental for my kids’ future success. Watching me seek and solicit ways to improve will help prepare them for life, whether they enter the workforce or start their own business.
If they learn how to welcome and accept feedback at an early age, they’ll be able to demonstrate unusual maturity when they receive it from managers or customers, which will give them a leg up.
There is a unique type of feedback, which I call Transformation Feedback, and I’ve found it to be much more effective in creating sustainable change than traditional feedback. This type of feedback isn’t focused on what a person does wrong.
Instead, the focus is on what the person can do in the future…suggestions for improvement. Traditional feedback is a review of what’s happened in the past. Too often people view feedback as criticism or an attack on their character and immediately enter into defense mode. And, often the person providing the feedback can come across as negative and judgmental.
But asking my kid’s questions like, “What can I do to be a better dad?” or “How can I be more supportive?” puts the focus on what I can do moving forward, not on the mistakes I’ve made in the past. It gives me something to focus on as a parent, not something to defend or feel bad about. Plus, it provides the kids with a voice and an opportunity to contribute directly to my improvement.
If you’re brave enough to try this, it’s important to be consistent in the process and not just give it lip service. Genuinely seek suggestions, take action on the suggestions, and then ask for follow-up on how you’re doing. Research has shown that regular accountability from someone we trust can significantly enhance our ability to realize sustainable change.
Try this method with your spouse as well. Do you have people you lead in the workplace? Try it with them. You might be surprised how quickly it can transform you and those you lead.
· Assess how open are you to feedback and how do you normally respond?
· When you give feedback, is it focused on what your kids did wrong, or suggestions for improvement moving forward?
· For more information and a worksheet for parents to help guide the process, click the blue download button below to get the PDF. Feel free to adapt to your specific situation.
On a recent trip I was working out in the hotel exercise room. It had the typical equipment including a couple of treadmills, an elliptical, and some free weights. I was on the elliptical.
As I was nearing the end of my workout, a facilities employee of the hotel came in and saw me. I greeted him and he said, "I need one of those at home so I can get rid of this (pointing to his gut)."
Here's what he was really saying. If only I had an elliptical at home then I would look better but since I don't have one this is how I'm going to have to be.
He displayed 'If Only Syndrome.' Do you recognize it?
The problem is that it is a lie. But it's a lie that he believes. And since he believes it to be true in his life, he'll continue to justify his lack of health and protruding gut.
His own comment was a value statement he was making revealing that health is important to him and being overweight is counter to that belief. All he did was see me working out. Nothing that I said made him feel that way...he already shares that value.
What do you think would happen if he did have an elliptical at home? Is it probable that he’d say something like this? “I need to have more time so I can use the elliptical.” In other words he’d be saying, if only I had more time then I’d be in better shape and look a lot better than I do, but since I don’t I’ll just have to continue being the way I am.
I've seen it too many times...If Only Syndrome.
I've seen it at times in my own life in various forms. I've believed the lie as it relates to my health and fitness, to my relationships, to spending time with the kids, to being productive, to tithing, and list goes on and on....
So what's the remedy? In brief, it follows a process like this...
Have you ever started making progress toward a goal or change in your behavior only go find yourself back where you started? When that happened, who’d you blame? This discouraging scenario is played out over and over again in home after home and year after year.
The problem for many people isn’t that they don’t have a desire or don’t take initiative. The problem is that after they get started something happens to interrupt the progress they made and they get off track and revert back to the behaviors that caused the problem in the first place.
To prevent this from happening it’s essential to create a supportive environment so that you can stick with the changes that you started. The previous post focused on phase two in the behavior change process. So if you haven’t, check out that post first. Again, you make a new behavior stick by creating a supportive environment...this is the most critical ingredient.
In my previous post, the focus was on the first step in changing your life, which is awareness. As you now know, you cannot change if you’re not aware. The post included a list of questions to help you identify where to start. If you haven’t read that yet, start there, before you move on toward this step. The second phase in changing your life might sound obvious, which is choosing to change.
In reality often people say they want to change but they never truly make an intentional decision to change. Is the fear and uncertainty of changing preventing you from making changes you know will benefit you? The secret to transformation is learning how to make yourself accountable to your own commitments.
It starts by taking small steps and keeping each commitment you say you're going to do (or not do). When you do, you'll gain confidence and gain momentum and start believing in your ability, which will impact how you feel about yourself. Your past failures don't matter, regardless of what your negative self-talk might want to say. The past does not equal the future. It's time to move forward by choosing to change!
Most changes we’re looking to make or goals we set are because there's something in our life we're not happy with and want to change. A problem we want to fix.
Unfortunately, we all do things that are not in our best interest. Many of these are habits that unintentionally developed over time. But, do we keep on doing them? Or, do we face our faults and learn from them? Do we allow them to prevent or accelerate our growth? Those choices are ours.
In my previous post, I highlighted some initial steps in gearing up for making a change in how you behave. Now, let’s look at a simple but important method for implementing change, improvement, and growth...permanently! Whether you're looking to lose weight, improve a relationship, make more money,
Simply knowing something – even the benefit of something – isn’t enough to cause sustainable behavior change. Have you ever experienced that? In my previous post, I said that the biggest problem we face is acting on what we know.
And do you fall into the trap of only doing those things you "feel" like doing? No matter what it is, if you only do something when you feel like doing it, you will never be consistent. And, for all things that matter, consistency is the key!
So, I'd like to share with you a proven strategy for making behavior changes stick. This is based on my personal experience, as well as through the coaching I do, and all the people I've worked with over the years who've seen success.
Wouldn’t it be great if we always did what we knew was good for us? While knowledge (awareness) is an important step in the behavior change process, simply knowing something - even the benefit of something - isn't enough to cause sustainable change. Have you ever experienced that?
Let me illustrate with a classic example. Here is a fact that almost everyone knows: exercise is good for your health. Regular sufficient exercise does more to promote your health than any other thing you can do, assuming you're getting adequate sleep.
Are you living intelligently? When people discover my website and see the words “Inspiring Intelligent Living,” they often wonder what it means to live intelligently. They ask if it is really possible to live intelligently or if it’s just a slogan…or maybe an illusion.
If you believe an Intelligent Designer made us, and we were made in his image, then without a doubt we were not meant to live a life of self-defeating behaviors that keep us living below our capabilities. I believe we are designed with the ability to live intelligent lives, so we are the light to the world we are called to be.
Since we all have within us the ability to live an intelligent life, why don’t we?
“This is going to be the best day of my life.”
Those were the words from the background music I heard while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist office. I didn’t know the name of neither the song nor the artist, but that phrase captured my attention.
As I thought about the words, I felt my mood lighten and a slight surge of energy move within me. I sat up a little straighter.
“Why not?” I thought.
Today is the only day I’m assured of having…why not make it the best day of my life?