Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Quitter’s Circle, a collaboration between the American Lung Association and Pfizer. All thoughts and opinions presented in this post are purely my own.
It’s common for many of us to examine our lives and ponder the person we aspire to be.
Self-improvement is a powerful thing, filled with scrutinizing and day-dreaming about the individual we know we can grow to become. It takes a lot of work.
We brainstorm good life choices we wish to acquire.
We consider not-so-good actions we hope to finally get rid of.
We contemplate. We reflect. We journal. We vision board. We do whatever we need to prepare.
And then, seemingly all of a sudden, we’re ready.
We expect it to happen all at once.
When I finally decided I was ready to return to yoga – I wanted a perfect five times a week practice to fall into place immediately.
When I finally decided, after four fun-filled years of undergrad, I was ready to lose weight – I wanted to re-find my fitness immediately.
When I finally decided my daily diet soda habit no longer served me – I wanted to quit cold turkey and never, ever look back.
We long for immediacy when making a change and get excited at the thought of our new selves.
And, if you’re like I am, there’s one more reason you feel as though change should come quickly:
By the time you’ve committed to change, you’ve probably already invested months (or even years) just thinking about it.
In the real world, however, self-improvement goals necessitate small steps spread out over time.
Slow shuffles toward a goal that coalesce to create momentum and permanent success.
Embrace S.L.O.W. Change.
Small steps still equal movement.
Consider how we celebrate a toddler’s first steps. Tiny, tentative shuffles forward we reinforce with clapping and encouragement. No one watches a wobbly new walker and wonders why she isn’t running yet! We applaud both the effort and the forward movement. Treat yourself like a toddler as you undertake achieving a new goal. Steps forward, no matter how small they may feel, inch you toward the goal you’ve set.
Layer steps upon each other.
Change can feel akin to a juggling act. In our excitement and hurry we attempt to implement lots of change simultaneously. This act of endeavoring to juggle too many modifications at once ensures one orb will crash, sparking us to give up. When creating change, it’s crucial to acquire the skill of layering. Choose one area of your life (for example: not smoking during girls night out), master that piece, move to another area (for example: not smoking during work breaks) and layer that new piece on top of what you’ve already mastered.
Own your success.
I often joke about how I pat myself on the back so frequently I’m perilously close to tearing a rotator cuff.
Don’t become distracted by other people’s successes and allow them to diminish your own.
Don’t become so narrow-focused on your ultimate goal that you forget to celebrate smaller achievements/victories along the way.
Celebrate ordering small french fries at lunch when your “usual” is a super-sized. Cheer for yourself as you walk 1/2 a mile even if others around you are running marathons. Congratulate yourself each day you make it through smokefree and acknowledge communities like Quitter’s Circle that can help motivate you along your quit journey.
Acknowledge changes you’ve already made and the hard work it has taken to get there.
Walk before you run.
Literally and metaphorically.
Set yourself up for lasting success by pacing yourself as you move toward your goal and building a plan.
Currently a one-pack-a-day smoker? Commit to smoking one less cigarette today, and setting a quit date when you will be completely smokefree. Sure, it would be thrilling to quit abruptly or immediately stop smoking, however, by running before walking and implementing change too rapidly you may set yourself up for returning to undesirable behaviors.
Quitter’s Circle can help you make a quit plan and provides tips to keep in mind as you choose the right time to quit smoking.
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, it’s important to remember long-term success requires progressive shifts over time.
S.L.O.W. change is still change.