We often think of ‘change’ when we hit a new season in life, or are excited by a new relationship, or perhaps when a new year rolls around. All of these are likely times that we pursue implementing changes in our lives – or change is forced upon us, whether we like it or not!

Whatever the season you find yourself in, and whatever the driving force behind needing or wanting change may be, In order for change of any kind to be long-lasting and effective, it takes intention, work and planning.

If you choose to embark upon change this season or go after those goals you’ve been dreaming of, consider implementing the following four steps to set yourself up for the most success possible.

  • Change must be attainable.

Instead of creating lofty and unreachable goals when pursuing change, consider keeping it small and bite-sized.  Setting attainable goals – even if they are the building blocks to larger goals, will ensure that you maximize the accessibility of achieving goals.

  • Change must be sustainable.

You know how it goes. You get an idea, you make a resolution, you start strong the first day, and maybe that first week or month you’re really knocking progress out of the park. Then one day you find that your enthusiasm has waned, or it’s been weeks since you actually did that thing you set out to do.  At some point you decide there’s no way to get it back on track so you give up. Enter a new goal and rinse and repeat.

If this pattern sounds familiar, it’s time to take a good look at the way you’re trying to make changes or goals happen. Are you focusing on the quick fix? If you’re expecting stellar results or fast fixes but not considering the time, effort or maybe intention that you should put into really making those goals stick there’s a good chance that those changes are not sustainable ones. If whatever plan you’re trying to implement only feels doable for a short season, it’s not sustainable. Real change – the long-lasting kind – doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without your goals being truly sustainable.

  • Change doesn’t happen without a solid plan.

If you’re pursuing those goals you’ve been dreaming of for a while, spend time doing some solid planning before launching into switching things up. How do you anticipate making this happen? What’s your daily plan, weekly plan or monthly plan to keep you on track?

Write down your steps. Even consider mapping out what the goal looks like (think vision board!) so that you have a very clear picture and understanding of all the effort and intention that you expect to put into making your change happen.

  • Change doesn’t remain sustainable without continually checking in, reassessing and tweaking.

You’ve made sure you’ve got attainable and sustainable goals. You’ve even created a really solid plan to ensure those changes happen in your life. Don’t forget to check-in with yourself every now and then. Every plan or change needs an evaluation process, one where you check-in, assess and reassess everything that is working or hindering progress.  And then, continue tweaking and implementing additional changes where you feel necessary to make those goals ones that are truly sustainable.

The bonus? Putting a sustainability plan in place to reach your goals may also help you reduce the possibility of added anxiety, shame or guilt that you might feel as you pursue change in your life. Why not give yourself the best boost possible? Perhaps the change you’re seeking and your mental health will benefit when sustainability is in place.

Unsure how to take steps towards the change you want? Stuck in a loop?  If you need help identifying what change could look like, devising a plan to bring you long-term success or someone to help you work through , we have therapists with immediate availability that can help.

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