Which health change should you make first? Part 4 of 6
How will your change affect you?
You may now feel ready to choose your change and begin but there are a few more steps that will make your task even easier.
Having a strong picture of the end result makes the journey itself easier to visualise. In addition, it clarifies your “One Big Thing” into a vibrant and inspirational image of what you can achieve by staying on your path of change. Later on this year we’ll look at the benefits of visualisation in more detail.
The first is to visualise how the change will affect you. Imagine yourself after your change.
Think of how different your wheel of life will look and how different you will look.
What will have changed in your day, in your life, at work and at home?
How will life be easier, happier, healthier, wealthier?
Will you have physically changed?
How will your changes affect your mental outlook?
Will you be more confident, outgoing, assertive?
What effect will your change have on those close to you and on your relationship with them?
How will they describe your change?
What difference will they see?
For now, take some time to imagine the new you after you have successfully completed your big change with the help of the questions above.
Preparing for your change: ask for help
Asking for help from professionals
Nobody knows you like you but occasionally it pays to get a second opinion. There are some instances where you should tell others about your plans, especially if you need to ask for help.
You should definitely consult a medical professional if you want to embark on a new fitness regime or diet and you have any of the following medical conditions:
Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder
High Blood Pressure
It’s extremely unlikely that a medical professional will recommend you avoid your planned change. They will instead be able to guide you to achieve it in the safest and most effective manner. Many health experts can recommend specific groups, classes or trainers who can teach you to manage your condition while continuing to improve your lifestyle. If you have doubts about your health ask the relevant expert at the outset. When a patient takes control of their diet, health and fitness it reduces the strain on essential health services so doctors are usually keen to refer to nurses, dieticians and trainers.
Asking for help from people who have already succeeded
Perhaps you’ve been inspired to change your lifestyle by a friend who has lost weight or taken up exercise. Seeing a friend becoming happier and more confident can be very motivational. If you have been in regular contact throughout their journey you may clearly understand how such a transformation is possible. Maybe your goal is similar and you can picture yourself attaining it just like your friend.
Now is the time to ask all about it. What steps did they take? Which bits were tough? How did they keep going? What inspired them? Tell them you admire them and you want to know all about their journey. Few people can resist talking about their achievements and whether they gloss over the tough stuff or give you the full nitty gritty you’ll have a much better idea of the task ahead.
When you ask others how they achieved their goal, there will always be differences. Don’t let these differences derail you. Avoid thoughts like, “she managed it because she only...” or “my task is harder because...”. Instead, look to the similarities between your situations to find the nuggets of support that you can call on later.
Asking for help from people close to you
Earlier in the year we looked at how family and friends can be barriers to success. When starting to implement change, approach anyone who might be affected by your change, give them a clear vision of the impact of your actions and explain the positives and negatives to them in advance. Perhaps your partner has wanted you to accompany him/her on biking trips and you have finally agreed. It’s important to explain if you fear that you won’t be able to maintain the pace at the start and plan out a training schedule to keep you on track. Or, imagine you want to avoid red meat when the rest of the family loves a roast. Discuss how important celebrations will change before the tension builds.
Most importantly, if you can think of positive ways for them to help, make a point of asking early and often. Helpers who have been involved in any project from the outset feel more engaged and devoted to seeing it through. Be prepared then for them to hold you accountable to your goals and ensure you let them know you how much you appreciate their effort and support.
Next week we'll discuss how to really get ready for success in your first big change.