Change is hard. We want to be successful so we need to plan for success. As part of that, we need to identify and prepare for obstacles along the way. Examining reasons behind the behavior can give clues to some potential barriers to change. So, I encourage you to start by considering the reason for the behavior. For example, as I thought about reasons that I procrastinate I came up with several contributing factors:
- An “I don’t feel like it” attitude (with a hint of laziness served on the side)
- Little perceived consequence for delaying what needs to be done
- Fear – fear of initiating what needs to be done for the task, fear of the response, fear of failure, etc.
- Desire for comfort – see item one
I’m sure there are other reasons, but you get the idea. I realize this isn’t the fun part. No one likes looking at shortcomings. But, honesty is critical here if we want lasting change.
Once you have you have your reasons identified, it’s helpful to rescript your thinking. This is part of overcoming barriers because your thoughts can be a significant barrier. If you think your individual food choices aren’t really that important and you’re trying to change your eating, you’re going to struggle. Likewise, if I don’t see the significance of the tasks I need to accomplish, I’ll struggle to make them a priority.
Take time to brainstorm barriers and new responses. I struggle to get up early in the morning which interferes with my goals. So, I need to make sure I go to bed early enough to get adequate sleep. I know that I struggle with “I don’t feel like it right now” so I need to rescript my thinking to something along these lines: I can do this even if I don’t feel like it. I’ll be glad later because I’ll have time to play a game with my kids instead of working on it then.
Hopefully you get the idea. This can be a difficult and often overlooked part of the process. But, it’s critical for long term success. I pray that you’ll dig deep today so you’ll be ready for tomorrow’s discussion of incentives and rewards.