When change feels normal, that’s when it will stick.
What do you do the day after you change your life? Barbara Brown Taylor
You may dream of winning the lottery, but it may drive you crazy
Can you imagine what it would be like to win the lottery? What would you do the first day after you won? Would you quit your job, pay off your house, travel or just sleep in? What would your family notice is different about you?
It would be amazing and life-altering to win the lottery. It would be huge. Most change is not as life changing as winning the lottery. For most of us, change is often more subtle. Most advertisements ask you to change yourself in what may seem insignificant ways:
- the way you look
- where you shop for groceries
- the type of shoes that you wear
- how you think about cars
- the music you listen to
- how you relax after a long day or a stressful week
- how you think about mental illness
Advertisers know that small change is the change that will stick
Our English word for Change literally means to bargain: to barter, to trade or exchange one thing for another. It also meant to trade one set of clothes for another.
Change can be as subtle as changing your clothes or as significant as changing your address. Even positive changes can result in stress: Winning the lottery is a dream for many people, but it can bring it’s own peculiar curse.
“It’s just upheaval that they’re not ready for” Tim McNay, Financial Consultant
The sobering reality is that 70% of people who win money have nothing left within a few years. Life transformations usually are great for Television, but they are not reality.
Change your clothes and change your life?
Changing your clothes is something that you do so often that you do it without thinking. There is a huge lesson here: the change that you can put on each day is the only kind of change that sticks. Little changes matter!
Change your attitude a little bit each day; go outside for a change of scenery and a little more exercise; open up and take more risks. Or you may want to make a more life-altering decision to improve your mental health, or change how you use substances or alcohol or food. No matter what you choose, small changes stick better than massive, life-altering transformations.
Three principles that will help your change to stick
1.Decisions that can be repeated, several times a day will stick. Change is part persistence, part self-discipline, and part inspiration. The more often you can repeat a desired behavior, the more likely you are to continue it. It is a good thing to stretch yourself a little out of your comfort zone, but don’t kill yourself. The big efforts are cool, but they are not normal. Change that is small, doable and repeated will remain.
2.Decisions that feel good will stick. Identify what you enjoy about a change. Remind yourself about the positive reasons for the change that you want to make. Make a list and review it daily. If it feels good, you will keep it going. The principle is that what is rewarded is what you will do. The reward may just be the good feeling you get after exercise, or it may be putting the money you would spend on cigarettes into a travel fund. Find a reward that you anticipate.
3.Decisions that build on your strengths will stick. If you are an extrovert, exercise with other people. If you are an introvert, exercise alone. If you like numbers, keep a detailed list of your financial realities. If you hate numbers, hire a financial consultant. Your strengths are those areas of your life that you naturally excel at and enjoy. Building on your strengths will help you to be more prone to stick with the change.
What will you do the day after you change your life?
It’s a great question. When a change feels normal, that is exactly what you want. Change that you can continue is change that is small, rewarded and built on your strengths.
You can read more about how to make good habits stick by clicking on this link for the Habits Guide: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
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Keep it Real
Opening quotation by Barbara Brown Taylor page 131, “Leaving Church.”
Photo by Andrew Malone