Thursday, December 18, 2008

Get Excited!

Sometimes when we look forward at making a lifestyle change it just feels like a drag. It might be hard and make us feel like we're missing out on something. We might fail.

All this is true! BUT---much of our chance for making our improvements into a sustained lifestyle depends on our perspective. Can you possibly get excited about changing?

It makes me think about when I was 16 and worked in a grocery store for a year. I HATED it. Every second of cashiering, stocking, (illegally) clipping coupons for the manager, sorting empty bottles and was terrible. Usually I worked from 4-8:30pm, and sometimes from 7am-1pm on Sundays. The Sunday shift sounds worse, but the problem with the afternoon shifts was that I wasted the whole day before I went to work dreading it. For an entire summer, I had this feeling of dread about going to work. I did nothing all day long, and then dragged myself to the store. The point is that it really wasn't that bad. I was getting paid minimum wage (which at the time was about $4.25 an hour) for 4.5 hours, but I was wasting an additional 8 hours everyday hating my job.

One day, I heard something on the radio about tricking yourself into being in a good mood. They said if you force yourself to smile and pretend you are happy, you will feel better. So I tried it while I was cashiering one day. And it worked. Not enough for me to like the job, but enough for me not to be miserable while I was there.

I think there are two layers of this related to lifestyle. First, if you are dreading making a change (giving up fast food, cigarettes, starting a workout plan, etc), pretend you're excited!
The second thing is to actually find ways that will help you feel some real excitement. Make a list of the reasons why the change is worth it. What will it feel like when you succeed? What are the benefits of change?

It's just another strategy for inching closer to lifestyle change without making it a struggle or a fight.

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