Have you ever wondered how long it takes to make meaningful change in your life? Turns out, it takes 21 days! This is why New Year's Resolutions have such a high failure rate. People set a goal for the New Year expecting to see results right away. When that doesn't happen, it is back to the old routine.
Why is making meaningful change so hard? Think about it. Your current routine wasn't built in a day! It took many years to develop what is comfortable and familiar. Unlearning what we are used to doing takes time and effort. Plus, we need to be willing to try new activities that help us make a change.
The best way to create meaningful change is to break down a goal into small achievable steps. Then, you need to monitor the change you made. Since it takes 21 days for the change to become part of your routine, making small steps towards the goal everyday will produce results.
For example, let's say you have a digestive health issue. You are suffering from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, abdominal pain, moodiness and brain fog. It seems like it is impossible to resolve all of these symptoms and may feel helpless. But it's not because you are going to breakdown how you are going to attack these symptoms in easy steps.
First, you have to take one of the symptoms that is most bothersome for you. Let's say it is bloating. For most, bloating is very annoying because it is really uncomfortable and makes us feel sluggish. Find either your favorite notebook or electronic device and write down your goal:
Goal: Eliminate Bloating
Next, write out the steps you will take to stop the bloating.
Here are a few ideas:
Keep a food diary to identify what foods are making me bloat
Investigate a food allergy test to see if I have a food allergy
Drink more water; write down how many ounces of water I drank each day. Goal is half my weight in ounces every day
Take a brief walk after eating instead of sitting down to help eliminate the bloat
Drink ginger tea to relieve bloating
See how if you break down the change you would like to make into reasonable small steps, it is much easier for it to become part of your normal routine? Once you've started identifying the steps you want to make, define how many days per week you want to work on the step.
For example, the food diary may be a step you want to do every day before you go to bed. This means you can do it once a day for simplicity instead of after every meal. Do you think you will forget what you ate during the day? Try planning your meals ahead of time so you know exactly what you are eating. On the weekend, I typically meal prep breakfast. It is either overnight oatmeal or sweet potatoes topped with fruit. I do this so I know I have a healthy breakfast ready to eat and don't have to worry about making something during the busy morning.
Now that you have the smaller steps mapped out and timing with each step, it is time to do it! This is the hardest part of making meaningful change in our lives. Doing it! It will take several days for you to remember to actually do the step. But in this age of technology, we can take easy steps to remind ourselves. Putting a reminder in the to-do list of an electronic calendar can help. Or maybe it is a reminder on your phone. If that seems unlikely to help you, resort to old fashioned sticky notes in places that will remind you to do the activity.
Since you are learning a new behavior, it is likely that you will forget to do a step or two in the beginning. Don't beat yourself up over it! Your current routine took many years to develop. It will take time to modify that routine. But once you are over the hump, the new step will just become part of your life. If you consistently work on an action, after 21 days it will be your new routine.
It doesn't have to be 21 days in a row. If you can only drink ginger tea 3 nights a week, do it! After doing this for 3-4 weeks, you will miss not having that cup of tea if you forget. Want to make it 4 nights a week? Add an additional night once you are sure you have a solid routine in place. If you rush adding more days, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
Another point to remember about making change, is not to make it overly restrictive. If you do, there is a good chance you will not be able to stick to it. A balanced approach will set you up for success! By being overly restrictive, such as eliminating a food group from your diet or forcing yourself to drink an herbal tea you don't like, is going to be a bad experience making it unlikely you will stick to the change.
Even when we have really good intentions to make meaningful change, we may need professional help. If you are working on improving your gut health, I am here to help!
Whether you've been formally diagnosed or you just know something is not right, I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching others how to stop suffering and get back to living.
If you have bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, moodiness, brain fog or abdominal pain, you are suffering from an unhealthy gut. When our gut is unhealthy, so is the rest of our body.
I offer a 30 minute FREE consultation where we will discuss how you are feeling and our program, Simply Great Gut Health.
Simply Great Gut Health is a customized plan that heals your gut with 5 Steps that fit your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
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I hope you enjoyed this post on how to make startling and meaningful changes in your life. By mapping out the small action steps that help you achieve the overall goal, you will be successful Do you think this process will help you make meaningful change? Let me know in the comment box below.