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How do I Create Lasting Change in My Life?

In my last blog, I discussed setting SMART goals and their importance to creating consistency in your pursuit of physical fitness, or any other change you want to make.  You have already done the critical first steps by establishing your SMART goals – what needs to be done to make your Why a reality – and breaking them into their component elements.  This blog will help you implement your fitness-related SMART goals and create the change they represent in your life.  This is the WHAT level of Starting with Why.

Related: Start with Why

There is a formula for changing the course of your life: X(Small change + time) = transformational change, where X is the number of changes you need to make to create the new life you desire.  Experience has proven that the way to achieve lasting change is to focus on one thing at a time, make it a habit (14-30 days, minimum, depending on the change), and then add another change and focus on it until it is a habit, as many times as needed to achieve your goals.  This gives you the opportunity to make between 12 and 26 changes to your life per year.  Think about how this can add up and you start to see the power of this approach.

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To begin, review your SMART goals – all of them, regardless of what aspect of life they affect – and take an honest look at what needs to be done daily, weekly, etc. to implement them.  Each of your SMART goals may be perfectly feasible by itself, but overwhelming when combined.  To be successful, ruthlessly prioritize your SMART goals and focus on achieving the most important first.  Then, begin with the first change you need to make, and give it 14-30 days of focused effort.  It is a habit when you no longer have to exert yourself to do it.

even “overnight” success is the product of a large amount of work over time, overcoming numerous setbacks, failures, and doubts along the way.

Of course, this advice doesn’t sell very well.  Everyone wants to be healthy, wealthy, and wise – NOW.  Or at least in 90 days or less.  Including me.  But the facts are indisputable that even “overnight” success is the product of a large amount of work over time, overcoming numerous setbacks, failures, and doubts along the way.  If you want to be healthy, wealthy, and/or wise, the way is hard work, time, effort, and overcoming obstacles.  This is another reason why making small changes, allowing them to become habit, and adding them together over time is the way to success – by focusing on one thing at a time, you minimize what you’re working on and the amount of work you are doing at any one moment, make it a solid change, and have lower chance of backsliding when things go awry or you add a new change on top of it.

Related: How Do I Stay Consistent with my Fitness

Another issue many have with this step-by-step approach is that it doesn’t seem like you are doing enough.  This leads to overreaching, which leads to failure, which puts you back where you were.  Avoid the temptation to go too big too early.  If a particular change really is easy, then it will become habit quickly, and you can make more rapid progress by shortening the time before adding your next element.

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In sum, set your SMART goals, identify the steps you need to take to implement them, prioritize your goals and the implementation steps needed, then implement one at a time until it becomes a solid habit.  Throughout the process, remain connected to your Why, which is the source of your motivation, and your true power to create change in your life.

—John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

CrossFit Slipstream

john@crossfitslipstream.com