Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Changing Behavior

This is the perfect time of year to revaluate how you are managing your life. The winters are always challenging for many reasons and spring, along with the hints of summer, give us some relief, some hope.
If you are at all like me you may have somewhat of an “addictive” personality. I easily develop patterns of behavior (typically in response to circumstances) that tend to gain momentum as time goes by. The patterns then become reinforced as I find they are successful, comfortable or highly enjoyable. The bad news is sometimes the evolving change is not in my best interest. Feel free to plug any of your own in here! This could be diet/nutrition, excessive or non-existent exercise, smoking, drinking, drugs, negativity, risk-taking, apathy…withdrawal from friends or family…or any number of things.
I have been through this before and at one time had to address a problem that I feared I would never overcome. From that experience that spanned several years I now know it is possible to attack and conquer the perceived impossible.
The most important thing is to acknowledge that something is affecting the quality of your life negatively and then look at the ways to begin a process of change. The biggest obstacle in my opinion is thinking too large, rather than looking at the option of mini-steps of behavior change. Rather than using the words “I will start now and never again…” consider beginning with a smaller commitment. Why not just start with TODAY and see how it goes? By knowing that your immediate commitment is short there is peace in the process. By experience I know that that one day often becomes another day, then a week, then a month, then years and before you know it what was a pattern is now only an option that you can choose to ignore. New behaviors breed new reinforcements and change can happen.
When a pattern is truly an addiction or illness… or is life-threatening and more than you can handle on your own it is critical to seek help. There is no shame in being in need, it is human and we all go through it to some degree at one or many points in a lifetime. The shame is when a life is wasted because you feel alone in your struggles. Look around yourself at the gym. You are surrounded by people who have both struggles and triumphs. We are lucky to be in a physical environment that is all about change and empowerment. Spend a moment today thinking about what you want for yourself and how today can be a new beginning. That first step is the best… and who knows you may affect many other people you care about in the process.

~ Kari

No comments: