Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If You've Struggled to Change, New Method Leads to Success!

I just finished reading a fascinating book called Change Or Die that sheds new light on the process of long-term, successful change. The book begins by discussing why historically 9 out of 10 people fail to change a belief, mindset or habit in spite of the fact that NOT changing will cause someone's life to end soon - or a lot sooner than it had to end.

According to the book's author, Alan Deutschman, if for example someone was sedentary, consumed a diet high in fat and cholesterol, smoked and lived a life full of stress, that person had just a 10 percent chance of success in changing these behaviors, even after he knew these behaviors were killing him. After the first few pages, I was shocked, discouraged and ready to do away with the book.

But quickly the book explains why the failure to change has been so high and shares new findings that clearly demonstrate that change is not only possible, but sustainable for the long term using a new approach to motivation.

Here's the old school approach to change:

  1. Find - Find the facts or source of the problem first, before trying to change a behavior or habit
  2. Facts - The facts should be compelling enough to motivate change
  3. Fear - Authority dictates the change based on fear
  4. Denial - We stay in denial in an effort to protect ourselves from the reality that we're in need of change

So using the old school, fear-based model of change, a patient has a heart attack and his doctor advises him that due to eating high fatty food and being sedentary, he'll die soon if his behavior is not modified. The patient is prescribed a drug, told to "exercise and eat right" and sent on his way. After a period of some behavior modification, 9 out of 10 stop following the treatment, including taking the heart medicine. Following through on the doctor's advice confirms that something is wrong with the heart patient, thus denial leads to lack of compliance.

The new school of motivation and lasting change:

  1. Relate - You are not alone in your struggle to improve your lifestyle (change your eating habits, lose weight, lower your stress, reduce risk of disease) and you connect with others who you can relate to for support and guidance in the change process
  2. Repeat - Keep working and reinforcing your new behaviors with support from your connections
  3. Reframe - look at the situation in a whole new light until you can internalize the change and it becomes part of you

Using the new concept of lasting change, a person relies on a team of professionals, such as doctors, dietitians, personal trainers and change experts, as well as peer support groups that can relate to the challenges at hand. With the proper guidance, new behaviors are repeated and reinforced until they replace old, undesired patterns. Perfection is never expected and a reframing process allows for continued focus on the positive until the new lifestyle is fully engrained.

If you've ever struggled to change a behavior, belief, mindset or a situation in your life, I heartily recommend you read this book. It will give you the framework with which to change your life!

By the way, the next Adventure Boot Camp for Women starts next week. If you're looking to make changes in your health, fitness and body, use the link below - there are just a few spaces available in the next camp.

Click Here for Adventure Boot Camp for Women!

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

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