I’m a firm believer in making small changes each day to make it to your ultimate goal. It’s no secret that our daily habits define our short- and long-term outcomes. But I also think that sometimes we need to look at the big picture. To get to where we want to be, considering our long-term goal helps us determine our daily actions.
After the “honeymoon”
A lot of us make the decision to lose weight or spend less and save more. And the first two weeks – the honeymoon phase – we are making huge leaps towards our big goals. Our motivation is sky high; we avoid possible temptations and we smash through barriers and view our mistakes battle scars. Nothing will stop us from achieving that big goal.
But then, things at work get hectic. Our spouse gets a bad flu. Or one of the kids twists an ankle. When we get into tricky situations, we fold. Sticking to our new plan is smooth sailing…until we get thrown into difficult situations. Grabbing a quick burger on the way home instead of cooking gives us that feeling of stability since we’ve been doing it for so long. And blowing off steam by shopping reminds us of our normal routines.
We slip back into those old habits because they’re comfortable to us. We feel defeated. And instead of jumping right back on the path we were on, we revert back to what felt good and normal. In order to make a change from who we are now to who we want to be, we have to change our decision-making process.
Making a significant life change is basically a series of choices. As much as we try to complicate it, change is a choice. To help make that choice each day, I want you to do an exercise in visualization. It’s not too challenging, but I think it’s incredibly effective.
Think about what it is you want to change. Then, think about what people who have already achieved those goals are doing. As in, what type of decisions do they make every day? When you’ve figured that out, I want you to start doing it.
It’s really as simple as thinking about who you want to be, and then making the choice each day to be that person. If your goal is to be healthier, start making decisions that healthy people make. If you want to do physical activity every day, arrange your schedule each day the way someone already active does. If you want to be a person who saves more than they spend, visualize what a person already saving does and then do it.
When you feel the urge to slip back into old habits, remember that it’s a choice. You can choose to be the person you want to be, or you can choose to be the opposite. Staying motivated is just a matter of vision and choice.
Tags: forming habits, habits, positive actions, money and energy, making changes, personal finance, Chicago financial planner, emotion behind the money, Julie Murphy Casserly