The Slow Drip Method of Change…
The biggest mistake we make when we desperately want to make or break a habit is trying to make the change in one huge drastic change. Gotta lose 20 pounds? Crash diet. Gotta start exercising? Join a gym and get a personal trainer. Gotta get out of debt? Debt consolidation loan.
Whatever habit we want to change, there is a guide somewhere with glorious promises to stop whatever the bad habit is in 5 days or start whatever the good habit is in 7 days.
Does that ever work?
Maybe once in a while for some people, it does work. It might even work for some time. Permanent change has to take place in your brain. It has to become part of your basic being.
Stop for a moment right now and think about what it is that you want to change in your life. What is your daily routine? Can you change any part of your routine?
Is there something about yourself or your life that is making you miserable, that colors all the rest of your day, and that that or what it is that you feel that you must change whether you want to or not.
What feelings does thinking about this change bring up? Do you feel a sense of hope and excitement or is it a sinking feeling of boredom or frustration? Perhaps you feel nothing other than a fervent wish that you donít have to change a thing in your life.
Our brains dislike change and the best way to make a meaningful shift in our usual way of doing things is to sneak up on our resistant mind by making changes so tiny they slip past the brain's monitor.
There is one downside to taking this ìslow dripî approach to making a change and that is, it is not an immediate solution. It takes a while before you realize you have changed.
Itís a small downside when you consider the upside: the change is much more apt to be permanent. Because you have not made a big announcement that from this day forward you are going to be living your life differently, you won't have friends watching you.
If your friends and family are not watching you, they wonít be ready to point out when you slip. You won't have that sense of failure in their eyes when you don't follow through with your new life enhancing change.
You will also feel better about yourself because a small success is much more satisfying then dreams of a big success that never comes.
How exactly does the slow drip method work?
What you do is you take the change you want to make and break it down into all its tiny parts. Suppose for the purpose of this example you decide that you want to lose weight.
What's involved in losing weight?
Itís a simple matter ñ on the surface. All you have to do is eat less and move more. Except, it never seems to be that simple. If you break the process of losing weight down to its bare bones, take a look at the two components and choose your approach. Are you going to eat less, move more, or combine the two processes.
For the purposes of this example, you will choose to eat less. There's no need to buy a diet book or magazine with the latest diet on the cover. There's no need to rush out and buy special foods. You have one change to make and that is eat less.
Now you make your second decision in the slow drip method which is when are you going to start making this change? You can choose to start now or you can allow yourself time to think about it and pick a date that's next week or next month.
We've been taught by society to think of fast diets and losing weight in 10 days. Chances are good this is not the first time you thought about losing weight and maybe you have lost weight in the past. Were you successful in losing weight and keeping it off?
Resist the urge to want to get it done now. This is something you want to have for your lifetime, not for the upcoming wedding or special event and then let it go until the next special event.
Once you have decided what you want to do and when you want to start, you make one small change. This is the change. Be mindful of what you are doing.
You can keep on eating just as you currently do and think about easy changes you can make. You don't have to give up any of the food you are currently eating and you don't have to apologize to anyone else or to yourself for the way that you do eat. You just have to be aware that you are eating.
The next step is to decide how you're going to cut back on what you eat. It can start as slow as eating one less spoonful or forkful of whatever is on your plate. They used to recommend leaving a bit of everything on the plate for Mr. Manners. If leaving a spoonful of potatoes or two French fries for Mr. Manners works for you, do it.
Do that for a couple of weeks and then try eating two fewer spoonfuls or forkfuls of whatever is on your plate.
After that, you can choose to put a smaller serving on your plate before you begin eating. Even if you habitually mound up your plate and you cut that mound back by just a little bit, it will make a difference. it might take a month or even more before you notice the numbers change on your scale but chances are really good you will notice the difference without feeling terribly deprived.
As you continue cutting back a tiny little bit each week, the changes will be dramatic.
To use another example, letís look at how you can change your spending habits so that you donít run out of money before payday.
Step one is to look at how short of cash you get before payday.
Become aware that your money is gone in a week when you need to wait two weeks before payday. Itís a matter of being mindful about the things you do without thinking.
The second step is to figure out how much you would like to shorten that gap. Would you like to hang on to some money until 6 days before payday?
5 days? 1 day?
Figure out when you would like to take the next step in making a change in your spending habits and take that step.
The point of the slow drip method is to make yourself aware of what you are doing that is causing you to want to change first and then look at the ways that you can begin moving toward making the change that transforms your life.
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