Imagine taking a road trip with a destination in mind, but no map or directions to lead you there. If you’re trying to make a permanent change without having a plan, it’s the same concept. But, have no fear! The steps below can propel you forward.
- Step 1: Conduct a cost benefit analysis. Write down all the costs and benefits of not making your desired change. Then, do the same thing for making the desired change. Which list of pros is longer? If you find that you still see more benefits to “not” changing, you’ll want to learn more about the stages of change and where you are on the continuum.
- Step 2: Reflect on your prior habits. ClearerThinking.org conducted a study of 500 participants using 23 different techniques to help form positive, lasting habits. Turns out that habit reflection, a way of reviewing personal history, was the most effective technique. Learn more about habit reflection here.
- Step 3: Be aware of your common excuses. Make a list of your go-to reasons for not taking action (i.e. too tired, bad weather, not motivated, etc.). Then, determine a plan for how you will address each of these common excuses when they arise.
- Step 4: Start small, but SMART. Think about breaking your goal into baby steps, which—practiced consistently—can lead to big results. Each small hurdle you’re able to overcome will give you confidence to keep moving forward. And, speaking of goals, remember to keep them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound (SMART). Learn more about how to make SMART goals here.
- Step 5: Develop a growth mindset. Whereas a fixed mindset reflects the idea that your qualities are carved in stone, a growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities can evolve and improve based on effort. A growth mindset means viewing each mistake or setback as a learning opportunity, rather than as a failure.
So, what are you waiting for? By taking the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your desired “final destination.”