How many times this year have you tried creating a lasting change without success? Too many times to count? Finding ways to make a change last is one of the hardest things to do. But, why? Is it just because we are creatures of habit, or are there deeper reasons to explore? Creating lasting change is a challenge for even the most motivated people. You can be driven, successful, and totally committed, but find yourself weeks, months, or years later, falling back into the old habits you worked so hard to break.
What makes creating lasting change so challenging for some and so easy for others? There isn’t any mysterious secret behind the ways for creating lasting change. There also isn’t one simple formula that works for everyone. To make a change last there are certain things to consider. First you will have to determine what is motivating you to make a change. This step is very important! After you have truly determined your reasons for needing or wanting the change, you then need to establish what might prevent you from sticking to it. After you have figured out what those obstacles are, then you can look further towards what resources you might need to reach your goals.
Maybe there has come a point in your life where you are motivated to do things differently. You have tried to make changes on your own without success or have had some success, but it never lasts. The most common areas that people wish to find ways for creating lasting change are in physical, emotional, and interpersonal areas. There might be many reasons such as weight loss goals, body image issues, anxiety, underlying depression, or a pattern of unhealthy relationships. Whatever the case might be, what it takes to make a change last first begins with determining what changes you want to make and finding the right help for you to succeed. Let’s explore these areas a little further:
You have determined that you want to make a change. You have identified some motivating factors that appeal to you greatly. Maybe your desire to change is something health related, or physical. Reasons for wanting to make a physical change vary from increasing fitness levels, improving health or self-esteem, changing your image or look, or just wanting to make a self-improvement that has to do with something physical. Take a hard look at your motivation for change. Are these changes based on personal desires, or external influences? One thing we know about creating lasting change is that if it is too dependent on external factors, then the change will more than likely be more difficult to make last. If you are being influenced by external factors to change something about yourself, examine this a little further. You can decide if the change is positive and has long term health benefits, or if the change is a about a short-term gain.
Physical limitations to creating lasting change could vary from finances to physical injury. There could be fitness barriers to your goal which prevent you from achieving what you thought you wanting to change. It is important to be realistic when you set a goal. You might have to be willing to modify your goal if the end result is not sustainable for your personal situation. Someone who has suffered a hip injury might have to reconsider a goal of running marathons. The modification of that goal might be that they can do biking, swimming, or other challenges which still give them the long-term fitness benefits they are seeking. You also have to be willing to accept feedback and advice from others. If you are consulting with experts about your personal health goal and have been getting indicators that it might not be realistic or unhealthy, it’s time to revisit the motivation to change. When creating lasting change remember not to get confused with short-term gains versus long term results.
The best resources for physical change can come from your health care provider, personal trainers, dieticians, or counselors that can hold you accountable and keep you focused on your end goal. Making sure you are using resources that are reputable and have the proper credentials is also very important. If you trying to make a change last in your health, you will want to ensure you are following the right steps and sound medical advice. If you are seeking to improve your physical fitness, hiring a personal trainer who can teach you techniques for your personal fitness is a great resource. Not everyone is the same and if your goal is all about creating lasting change, you will benefit from a professional that can help you establish a good routine and long-term action plan.
Have you determined that you want to make a change in your mental health? Maybe you have noticed that even though you are highly successful and happy most days there are still times when something just feels “off?” Or maybe you have anxiety symptoms, or recurring negative emotions, poor coping skills, or bad habits. Making a change on an emotional level is not easy. It takes courage to determine that you might need help or to speak to an expert. Emotional problems can often go unresolved because people are too fearful to address them. It is also easy to find ways to distract yourself or cope with things that you might be struggling with. If you have gotten to the point where you want to try and resolve what you’re thinking, feeling, or believing about yourself, finding the right resource for help is a great place to start.
Limitations to creating lasting change in emotional areas can include negative support systems, financial restrictions, or fear. If you do not have the right support in your life to even encourage you to seek professional help if you need it, then that is a huge red flag. It is definitely time to evaluate your motivation for change and whether or not that change will add to your quality of life. If you determine that change is necessary for your overall mental health, then you should know that the investment will be worth it. You can conquer your fears and make decisions for the betterment of you and forge an alliance with a trusted expert who will support your goals.
A professional counselor in Orlando is trained in ways to help you process emotional issues. With the right help you can create the changes you want within your mind. When you uncover root causes of emotional pain, patterns, or ongoing issue, you can learn new ways to think, feel and interact with others. There may be underlying trauma from past issues that you have not dealt with which you are reacting to in your present life. Maybe you get triggered or are not even aware of why you continue to have negative reactions to certain events. Creating lasting change on an emotional level takes time, but with the right help you can overcome mental obstacles and have better quality of life.
All relationships have their highs and lows. Perhaps you have determined that your relationship or relationships have been having more lows than highs. Maybe you decided that you want to create lasting change in the way that you have been interacting with people. Friendships, work relationships, dating, marriage, or any connections that you have with others can be faced with challenges. If you are motivated to make a change in your relationships, ask yourself why? Do you want deeper connections, stronger bonds, better communication, more romance, less disagreements, or more overall fulfillment in the way that you interact with others? What is driving you to want to make changes in your relationships? Often people are not given a road map for how to navigate relationships in positive ways. Going blindly into marriage or dating without good communication skills, or tools to resolve conflict, can present challenges. Even friendships can create insecurities, jealousy, or tension that can be hard to manage. Wanting more out of your relationships and deeper connections with others can be motivation to make a change in this area.
It can be hard admitting that you can’t do it alone. It might even be hard to convince your spouse or partner that it’s a good idea to get help. Regardless of the reasons you are motivated to make a change in your relationships, you owe it to yourself to find ways around the obstacles. If finances are a concern, remember that any change you make in your life will require an investment. The short-term investment of time or money will end in long-term changes. Anytime you are creating lasting change, you will be faced with challenges that you will have to work on overcoming. Even if you are only seeking help for yourself because you want your interactions with others to be different, you are making a change for the better. Keep your eye on the goal and the reasons you have for creating lasting change.
There are many places to go for help to find better ways to interact with people. Creating lasting change in your marriage can come by seeking help from a marriage therapist or Orlando couples counselor. Even if you are just dating, cohabitating, or trying to navigate a relationship in healthy ways, a couple’s therapist can help you learn ways to do just that. Couples therapy isn’t just for couples. All couple’s counselor in Orlando will also talk to you individually and get insight into how to help you in the relationship. Friendships and work relationships take work too. They can either be great areas of support or areas that can be toxic or stressful. Discovering ways to enrich your supportive relationships and improve connections adds value and quality to your life. It is one of the most rewarding areas in a person’s life and offers so many countless benefits. By improving your connections to other’s you can also improve your overall sense of self-esteem and quality of life.
Creating lasting change is possible if you take the time surround yourself with the right support and a have great plan. The hardest part about changing something is starting. You can increase your chances of success by staying focused on what motivates you, identifying your limitations, and getting the best help for an action plan that works.
If you have been struggling with how to make a change last, reach out to an expert that is qualified in the area that you want to change. Orlando therapy goals often begin with identifying where you want to create change in your life and using your strengths to make change last. You deserve to live the best life you can and get the most out of it. When you have made the decision to do things differently in your life, getting the right support will help you succeed.
If you or someone you know is ready to make a change and wants to learn ways for creating lasting change, research the best resources for help in your area. You might find that a personal trainer, a life counselor, nutritionist, family physician, acupuncturist, marriage therapist in Orlando, or relationship expert will be your best ally. They can help guide you to creating the lasting change you have been seeking and the quality of life you so desperately deserve!
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.