Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Courtsey of Salvatore Vuono
I have been doing some things to try and help me be a better person, both physically and spiritually.  I have noticed that change is very difficult to make when you are used to life in a certain way and it seems to be working for you.  We have our daily routines and we are used to the way that things work for us and it makes it difficult for us to do substantial change even if it is better for us to do so.
For example, my son plays football.   During summer he was lifting weights and went to the school three days a week for a couple of hours.  Then it changed to 5 days a week 1 time a day and then 5 days a week 3 times a day.   Each change moved me out of my comfort zone from a planning and doing things perspective.  I had to adjust the things that I did and when I got certain things done; but, the change happened so quickly that I could not get into a rhythm.
It was then that I realized the importance of rhythm and habits to help us in life and the difficulties that lie in our path as we try to make changes.  As I sit and think about this, I looked to some things that can help with change and habits to make it easier, although not so easy that it still does not require work.
1.        It always helps to keep your eye on the reason for change.  In light of my son, I focused on the need for a father to try and help his son out in any manner possible.  Sure it is difficult for me and my schedule, but the real point of it is to be a father.  In my efforts to get healthier and grow spiritually, I focus on the importance being around for my wife and family and the need to want to grow and become more like Jesus.  Am I perfect, no.  Do I fall short sometimes, yes.  But I continue to try over and over again and keep my eye on the ball.

2.       Repetition is the key.  I am sure that you have heard about the 21 day rule.  It takes 21 days in order to make a habit.  But think about when you are changing something that you do not do every day.  For example, I started to walk every day for 15 minutes a day to try and become healthier.  I noticed that when I was doing this that it was easy to get into a rhythm and to add this to my routine every day.  At the same time, when I tried to bump that up to 30 minutes a day 3 times a week, it was a lot harder to do that the 15 minutes.  I thought that it was because of the increased exercises, but in reality, when I changed it to a total of 30 minutes every day, I was able to sustain the change more quickly and keep the momentum going.  We have to be aware that when we are doing something that is not a change that occurs daily, that it might be harder for us to sustain it than something that we do all the time.

3.       Find encouragement often.  I know that it is hard to do something when you do not have encouragement.  This can be hard if you do not have a good system built up.  For me that meant a three pronged attack.  First I set up internal ways to encourage myself. I celebrate success with a new book or something that helps me to feel good about my progress.  I also set up encouragement from my family.   I share my goals with family both my kids and my wife.  Nothing feels better than to know that you have their encouragement as you try to meet your goals.  Finally, I also set up a peer relationship to help me.  Once a week I meet with a friend of mine and we both review each other’s goals and also talk about how we are doing, the road blocks we encounter and the successes that we have had.
These things are some of the ways that I have been dealing with change and habits as I try and change myself.  These are not all the things I do, but they are some ways that I can move towards breaking through the walls that make it difficult to change.  What are some things that you do?

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