Time to Change
Consider when you really want something that was tantalising out of your reach. Perhaps as a child there was a special toy you wanted for your birthday, a new bicycle maybe; perhaps you wanted to learn to ride a bicycle. As an adult has there has been a time when you really wanted something expensive that was just outside of your budget – a designer handbag, a new car? How did you work to get those things?
As a child you may have used all your parental pester power, perhaps you saved your pocket money and did extra chores to earn the reward. If it was a skill such as riding a bicycle your parents or an older sibling may have helped, but you no doubt persevered until you had mastered the skill.
As an adult you may have foregone other luxuries to afford it or worked overtime to justify the expense. You may have put extra effort in to achieve a target. These examples illustrate that any change or goal has certain questions that need to be addressed to help achieve a successful outcome:
1. What do you want? What does it look, feel or sound like?
2. Why do you want it; what are the benefits to yourself?
3. How are you going to get it?
4. What effort are you willing to put in?

What Do You Want?

Before you can make a change it is important to understand what it is that you are after. Sounds silly? For example lets say, you know that you are about a stone overweight and you want to change this. Working on the SMART principle you can set your goal to be “I want to lose one stone (Specific and Measurable) over 2 months” (Attainable, Realistic and Timed).
So far, so good; you have set your goal. So why do things go wrong, surely a goal like that should be easy to put into action? As we know that is often not the case as yo-yo dieters will attest to. Maybe you achieve a change but after a while drift back to old habits and the weight goes back on. In this case the goal could be amended if you realise you want the change to be permanent, i.e. “I want to lose one stone over 2 months and maintain my new weight.” This goal states more clearly what you want. As the old saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for, as you may just get it”.

Asking yourself why you want to make the change follows on from above. By clarifying the benefits you are aiming to make it irresistible. Continuing with the weight loss example above you may believe that your increased self confidence will make you more relaxed and more fun to be with. Perhaps a new you would allow you to play more actively with your children. You may want to point out the negative impact of not making the change; being overweight limits what you feel comfortable wearing. It has an impact on your health and makes you feel sluggish. The issue here is to understand what is your motivation to change; not other peoples motivation for you! The question has to be “What is in it for me?” as it is your motivation that you need to keep up. Motivation and perseverance are hard when making change in our life, either temporary or permanent, temptation crops up and you slip up and then may give up so the stronger the motivation the easier it will be to make the change.
Another way to encourage yourself is to use your senses to make your goal more real. Visualise yourself fitting into smaller clothes, feeling fitter. What will this new you be doing, where will you be going? Will you be feeling more confident and self assured? Make yourself really want your goal, alter the goal if necessary to make it irresistible. That way you will give yourself something to be motivated to achieve.
If, in spite of all this you cannot find the motivation to make the change ask yourself why. Perhaps the goal needs amending or the issue is something else. If you cannot find the motivation you are unlikely to change, and if you do, it is not likely to last. Any change has to be your choice and welcomed by you.

Your Plan
Once you have clarified your goal and your drive to achieve it you then need to work out how you are going to follow it through.
Your action plan, like your goal needs to be SMART. Set yourself a series of steps or small tasks. If you are uncertain about how to complete a step consider if it needs breaking down further. Work through each step making sure you can fit it into your life, give yourself timescales and mini targets. It often helps to start with your goal and work backwards using ‘in order to...’ before each task to take you to the preceding one. Eventually you will work back to the first step.
You may go astray from your plan or events conspire against you. Don’t let it stop you. Remember that both your plan and your goal can be amended and tweaked – it is your goal and your plan after all!

No Pain, No Gain
Does it have to hurt? You can make it so if you like – however if you have given yourself great motivating reasons for the change you want to make you either won’t notice or mind any hardships along the way. Motivation can be hard sometimes but take yourself back to the reasons why you want the change and why you don’t want to stay as you are.
No one likes change as a general rule. Accept your change as a challenge, an exciting adventure into a new world; an improvement in your life. If you struggle to see yourself having completed your change think back to a time where you did manage change – even if it is from crawling to walking or babbling to talking as a baby. You managed it then because you were motivated and had no preconceived perceptions of failure. Look for role models who have made similar changes, maybe around you or in the press. You are the only one who can make your personal changes happen or not as the case may be. Stick with it – you know it’s worth it!

Author's Bio: 

Jacky Tustain offers personal coaching to help those people struggling with their lives to re-assess their life priorities, work out what they want in life, set themselves goals and put them into action. Good coaching is about helping you get results, this often starts with learning to believe in yourself and building your confidence. Why not have a no obligation chat with Jacky? Check out www.becandolifecoaching.com for more information.