The next important component to improvement is that you break any problem down into manageable pieces so you can have reasonable goals. I saw in an article recently that happiness comes from lots of small achievements rather than a single big achievement. Not only will you be more happy at the end of the process, you have a much better chance of reaching the final goal.
Let me give you an example from my life where this method worked for me. Growing up I was always on the heavier side of the scale. I loved food and always made excuses for why I couldn’t keep my weight under control. My family would go on diets for long periods of time and we would lose weight for a while, but when the diet was over we went back to our old habits. The entire time I was on a diet, I was just waiting for the moment to go back to my normal way of eating.
In 2006 I decided to do something different. My weight had started to cause medical problems with Cholesterol and Triglycerides, so I knew something had to change. This was my wake up call. My journey to become healthier was the first accomplishment that God and I would go through together. When things got hard and I had given up on myself, I knew that God was with me, that I would carry on if for no other reason than to glorify Him. That made all the difference in my struggle.
My dad had also lost a lot of weight and he gave me a different approach to weight loss. He taught me that my body weight was an equilibrium of the calories that I consumed and the calories I burned. In order to lose weight permanently, I would have to burn more calories or eat less calories. In essence, my diet would have to be permanent if I wanted the results to be permanent.
In turn I had to find a way to make changes I could live with my entire life, rather than just cutting calories for a period of time and going back. So I broke down my problem of losing weight into smaller, bite sized pieces. I decided to give up one thing at a time and would not move on to the next thing until I was completely okay with the previous thing. The first thing I gave up was soft-drinks; pop. I drank water instead.
I involved my family. I told them that I intended to eat better and to workout more. I found a passion for riding my bike. Every day I went out for an hour to ride and each time I went out I went a little farther. After the summer came to an end I was riding three times the distance than when I started.
The first time I went out riding it was hard. I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was a lot of work, but as I got better I started to enjoy it more and more. I found a passion because I refused to give up on it until I got used to it. I set up my goals based on achievements that I could control. I set distance goals for my biking. I made goals for what I would and would not eat. If I would have set those goals based on weight I would have been disappointed, because the weight loss (or gain) didn’t always follow the habits. I remember spending six months at the same weight and it was when I was doing some of my best work. I believe that I was more healthy at that weight then I am right now!
In summary, remember these key concepts:
Involve God through prayer in any change you want to accomplish in your life. Involve your friends and family so that they can keep you accountable and cheer you on to the finish line. Make sure you break down the change into smaller, more manageable pieces so that you can make your goals reasonable and accomplish-able within a short period of time.