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CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. But to do it consciously and well, it’s important that you first know that IT’S A PROCESS. And that preparing for change is just as valuable as doing it. Second, to clearly see exactly where you’re at on your way to whatever goal you set for yourself, be it eating better or climbing Mount Everest, I’ve divided the change process into six distinct progressive phases—CHANGE-STEPS. And composed a little quiz to identify which of the six you’re in.
I call this whole thing “The Boulder Rolling Downhill Effect”. It’s like you’re a boulder on top of a hill; it’s hard to get started, but once you do you can roll down a smoothly gentle slope or bounce into a pothole. And you can be all the way down the hill for some things in your life and frozen on top for others. Many of my clients excel at most of their lives (they’re doctors, lawyers, and even own buildings and successful businesses) but just can’t get it together when it comes to eating and exercise. That’s normal … nobody’s perfect in everything.
So I invite you to close your eyes and picture a huge boulder on top of an icy hill. Frozen to the ground and impossible to budge. Here’s where we start. See it? Now here’s a description of each Change-Step. Which one do you think you’re at when it comes to coming to terms with your exercise and your eating?
You’re sitting atop that hill like the icy boulder and, in human terms, most likely denying that a change is even needed in the first place. Most “Frozen” people are powerless to change anything without help. I like to think of this Change-Step as “I ain’t got a problem … nowhere, no how!” And if you’re the one trying to get a “Frozen” person to alter their behavior, you may even hear, “YOU’RE the one with the problem. Not me.”
The sun comes out and starts to melt the ice around you but you’re still stuck up there on that hill. In human terms, you’re aware of your goals and may have some idea about how to get there, but you don’t want to start just yet. This is the time to learn as much as you can about available strategies to make whatever goal you’re thinking about happen. You might also want to ask yourself some key questions, like “Should I?”
The ice is now totally thawed, but you’re still stuck up there. In human terms, you’re planning to make some changes very soon, but you’re still not totally sure you want to yet. This is a great time to gather more confidence about the information you’ve selected so that you can take action. And perhaps also gather people around you to help you make the change … family, friends, and even professionals. Taking small steps to test the waters might also be appropriate at this step. “I think I might…” best describes this Change-Step.
HOORAY! You’re finally rolling down the hill. But you may hit bumps and shallow spots along the way that may steer you off course. As well as deep crevices that may even return you to the beginning of this process. You may also only be willing to move in small ways. Or your hill may have a gentle slope and, as a result, the journey may be long and slow. But remember that small actions DO also lead to big wins. What’s a more appropriate label for this step than “CHAARRGE!”?
You’ve rolled past the potholes and hazards and are continuing freely down the hill. It can be either a gentle or steep slope—whatever feels comfortable to you. Or you may also start out slow but want to go faster at some point. I’d also suggest that you commit to maintaining the gains you’ve made during the “Moving” step, as well as finding coping mechanisms to prevent little slips and big faux-pas that may flip you all the way back to previous CHANGE-STEPS. One way to think of this step is “OK, this is good!”
You have no doubt that you can continue whatever goals you’ve been working toward without backsliding into old behaviors. If you’ve never had issues about whatever you’d like to change before, this stage may be possible. Most of the time, however, you may have to be aware of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may trip you up your entire life. But don’t fret; it does get easier. A good way to define this step is “I’m a-livin’ it and a-lovin’ it!”
So why would you want to identify which Change-Step you’re at in the first place? Pure and simple, you just CAN’T change if you’re “FROZEN” or “THAWING”. That’s why diets don’t work for most … you have to be ready first … you have to be both 1) on the “Warming” or even “Moving” Change-Step and 2) make the change a priority in your life.
So I invite you to take the little quiz next week to see where you’re at with your exercise and eating habits. My “Are You Weighting?” program is going to be so much more than looking at these two behaviors though. It’s going to help you first accept yourself as the size you’re at. So you can more gracefully and naturally make changes and LOSE WEIGHT AT LAST!
But first let’s look at where your eating and exercise behaviors are at this point in time. Because they’re an indication of how well you treat your body and yourself. Do you punish yourself by overeating and then feel guilty about it later? Or starve yourself into submission only to closet-eat? Do you sit on the couch when you know you’d feel better if you walked around the block? Or start moving with the best of intentions only to stop the next week?
Let’s find out once and for all. The one thing I ask is that you be honest with yourself to get the best results. And it might be a good idea if you take the test twice … once for eating and the second time for exercise.
To be continued …
Leave Your Comments About Are You Ready for Change? Part One Below
After reading through the definitions of the CHANGE-STEPS, which one do you think you’re on when it comes to food or exercise? Why?