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Change Your Life

Conceive It and Achieve It

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Updated July 13, 2006

Are you contemplating making some changes in your life? Unfortunately, although most of us start out full of resolve and determination, we end up falling short of our goals. We know we can benefit from change in our lives, but how do we make those changes become lasting ones? Try these tips to increase your chances of success.

Conceive it...

You've got to want it

Ever say something like, "I really need to get in shape" and have everybody around you nod in emphatic agreement? So why aren't you doing something about it? Chances are something else is more important to you than your goal. That might be watching TV, playing computer games or eating fatty foods, but you're making a decision that something is more important to you. Next time you make one of these statements, ask yourself how badly do you really want to achieve this goal? Do you want it badly enough to make some sacrifices in your current lifestyle? Then go for it!

Make realistic resolutions

If you've been sedentary and overweight for several years then resolving to win the Ms. Olympia title this year may be a bit unrealistic. Instead, resolve to eat more healthily and become more active. In other words, set a goal that you know you can realistically achieve and you won't be disappointed. Once you achieve that goal, you will be in a better position to move on to even higher goals.

Have a plan

It's great to have a goal, but you also have to have a plan for accomplishing this goal. Having a plan allows you to see in an organized way how you will you achieve your goals. Rather than just saying, "I wish I could be more assertive at work", investigate ways to learn this new skill. You might decide you are going to take a course at your local college, read a self-help book or work with your therapist on exercises to help you. The point is to determine what steps are necessary to turn your idea into reality.

Achieve it...

Don't procrastinate

Janet has all sorts of plans for weight loss. She has diet books, exercise equipment and even a gym membership. She also has plenty of reasons why she can't start right now. Procrastinating until things are just right is the surest way to failure. If you have a goal to accomplish, start now. No more excuses.

Learn from your failures

Rather than beating yourself up over past failures, learn from them. Did your diet fail because you gave into emotional eating? Next time use this knowledge to help you vent your frustrations in a healthier way.

Acknowledge that you will slip and forgive yourself

Even the strongest of us will occasionally slip. The important thing is not let this signal the end of your efforts. Dust yourself off and get right back in the saddle as soon as you can.

Don't let other people's fear of change stop you

Change can be frightening, not just for you but for those around you who have become accustomed to you being a certain way. You may find that your friends and loved ones will try in subtle ways to sabotage your efforts. Over the past year Laura had lost a large amount of weight and taken up exercising. She was very proud of her accomplishments, but nervous about facing the temptations of holiday sweets. On the surface it seemed that her mother was very supportive of her, yet when she packed up to return home her mother handed her a large package of fudge to take with her. Be aware that those around you may feel threatened by change. It's not that they want you to fail. They just don't know how to adjust to the changes in their own lives resulting from your success.

Get support

Sharing success, setbacks, and tips with other people who have your same goals is a terrific way to keep yourself motivated and on track. When you are feeling disappointed they can offer you a helping hand. When you are feeling like giving up, they can help you remember why it is you wanted to embark on your journey of change in the first place.

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