Making Change Stick

Author:  Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business®

Maybe it was a heart attack…
Tipping into the type 2 diabetic range…
Or any other health or social scare.
 
The writing is now on the wall – something needs to change.
 
Eat better, exercise more, lose weight, stop smoking, drink less, meditate more, sleep well. 
Typically, after the shock and fear are processed, there is a real and well-intentioned commitment to do things differently.  This time, things will be unlike before – until it isn’t.
What is it that makes change so darn hard to maintain? 
As it turns out, faulty thinking, misplaced motivation, poor strategies, and ineffective tools can all contribute toward that famous road paved with good intentions.
Some factors that can sabotage our success:
• Biting off too much to chew at once.  I can really relate to this one!  An ‘all or nothing’ kind of gal myself, I tend to think I can go from 0 to 1000% within a variety of arenas all at the same time and within one single leap of faith.  This is typically a surefire way to crash. 
 
• Drawing on negative motivation rather than positive motivation.  While fear, regret, shame and guilt may cause us to try something new, research suggests that these motivators do not work long term.
• Relapses seen as failure.  Slips or relapses are all part of the process and do not suggest that you have to throw in the towel!  Get back on track asap and do not let the ‘slip’ justify a regression to old habits.
• Thinking about change as a finite event instead of an ongoing process.  Change requires an ever evolving on-going cycle of new thinking, behaviours, tools, reviews and commitments.
There exists a variety of approaches and theories about creating new habits and keeping them.  Rather than provide you with a literature or theoretical review, I decided to interview a respected friend who has successfully implemented and maintained new lifestyles following a sudden heart attack.
I’ll share his experience, insight, and wisdom.
• Make a decision.  He decided in no uncertain terms that he wanted to live.  Period. 
• Be accountable to someone.  For my friend – it was his wife.  That was brave!
• Surround yourself with people who are committed to help you in your change – do not indulge folks that will enable habits that don’t support the new you.  Change can be threatening and uncomfortable for those around you.  ‘One more drink or bite, or one less workout’ just might in fact hurt you after all!
• Your first appointment that you commit to daily is your appointment with yourself – for you!  Write it down, schedule it!  It is not going to happen organically.  My friend protects his heart-healthy workouts as his most important business appointment of the day.  This time is NOT negotiable.
• Use tools that support the new behaviour.  Find out what triggers support your adaptive behaviour, and what triggers tempt you away from healthier behaviours.  Another friend, upon awakening, puts on her work-out clothes, and this puts her in a position to exercise BEFORE her shower and prep for her business day.
I have heard it said that if a goal doesn’t scare the daylights out of us – it is not worthy of us.  An interesting perspective when facing the ‘opportunity’ to create new lifestyles and important new outcomes.  Remember to take small positive incremental steps and celebrate each movement forward. 
The evolving canvass of our life is worth the contemplation, dedication, and implementation of each careful intention and brush stroke.
Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business
 

Sarcopenia and Aging

Sarcopenia refers to the gradual decline in muscle mass. As we age, this shift can negatively impact our functional fitness and increase the risk of falls, lower bone density, and increase glucose intolerance.  Although a number of factors can contribute to the advancement of sarcopenia, remaining active and introducing progressive resistance training helps to deter the onset.

 

Change

If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted.

Francis Bacon

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