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Time To Change: Simple Steps To Help You Stick To And Reach Your Goals.

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

From better behavior to better relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, maybe even to self-improvement or home improvement, there is “something” or many things each of us has repeatedly “vowed” to “fix”. The question then remains, why are they still “broken”.

The answer is because, despite our “intentions”, the “idea” of change is “always” a lot more appealing and a lot easier than actually going through with it. And, according to the experts, the reason “change” is so difficult, is probably because most of us don’t know when or exactly how our bad behavior started or got the best of us, AND, most of us don’t know HOW to reverse the bad behavior pattern.

But, we all “know” when it’s (truly) time to change. And, when it’s time to change, it’s (really) time to change. Here are some suggestions from the pros.

· Make the task easier to accomplish by breaking it down into smaller components. If it’s more exercise you want and feel you need, think about easy ways to accomplish that. Perhaps you should eat at your desk without clocking out and using your lunch hour to take a brisk walk or hit the gym. Maybe even snack while you are water. Join a gym or a fitness class with a friend and consider it your night out with a pal. Maybe watch your favorite show while biking on the stationary bike or walking on the treadmill, try to kill two birds with one stone and your achievement may seem easier than you thought.

· Re-evaluate the benefits of change. Sometimes venturing into unknown territory can be “scary” and intimidating, but just think about the outcome and make that a major motivator.

· Give yourself positive reinforcement. Besides not “beating yourself up” for not always sticking to your routine as planned, create creative ways to help you be more positive about your task. If you enjoy the great outdoors, then try biking on a scenic trail, if you like dancing try taking a dance class to keep you fit. And, don’t forget to take time to take in and enjoy the experience.

· Allow yourself ample time. Remember Rome was NOT built in a day. Don’t expect to immediately quit smoking, maybe you have to wean yourself off a few cigarettes (per day) at a time, change your diet by incorporating one healthy substitute per day for a “bad” one and let the new “habits” replace the old ones over time.

· Educate yourself, especially about potential “pitfalls” and things that may make take you off your intended course. Also make note of how you expect or can deal with them and prepare yourself (mentally and physically) to do so.

· Breakdown you day and list your activities as either harmful or helpful to your goals. If you know you eat more when eating out, try dining at home for a while or snacking (on something healthy) before leaving the house. If watching movies causes you to snack, find other activities to fill your time with, or if hanging out in certain crowds or environments causes you to drink or smoke, avoid those environments, until you feel strong enough to exhibit healthy behavior in an unhealthy environment.

· Develop a support system: From friends and family you can count on and call when you feel like you are losing your “struggle” or joining a support group the important thing is to make sure you have the proper encouragement. If you’re trying to lose weight put up a photo of a dress or suit you’d like to fit into, or someone you admire and would like to look like, or how you’d like your home to look, look at it for motivation and inspiration.

· Repeat yourself as often as possible. Practice good behaviors as frequently as possible. If you are walking to meet a client have a pair of running shoes in your bag you can put on and power walk it over there (instead of taking a leisurely stroll). Have dinner parties, instead of going out, and invite some friends over to “show off” your new healthy cooking skills. The more you do something, the easier it will be for it to “come naturally”.

· Go slow. Don’t try to accomplish your entire goal(s) all at once. Give yourself credit for even small progress made each day along the way. Taking it one step at a time will help you see progress in increments that will not only keep you motivated, but will also make your more comfortable with your new routine, and/or behavior(s).

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