To sell something, the customer needs to understand what they are buying. You can apply the idea of lifestyle change to any area of life — from personal life to productivity in professional life, and health in general. I will give you some reasons why you might want to purchase a little positive change. All I am going to sell you is the life you desire and deserve. If these concepts don’t work, you can only blame yourself, which is actually the best part!
How I became a salesman for lifestyle change
I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies when I was eight. Because I have no asthma anymore, I am one of the people who were cured of an incurable disease. It’s not a miracle even though multiple doctors twenty years ago told me so — while laughing. I know how to do it the same way some researchers know how to reverse type 2 diabetes. The US 3.5 trillion chronic disease business is not the fault of our genes, but our behavior. This should be as big of a surprise in the year 2020 as smoking causes cancer was in 1980. Did you not know that you should not smoke, drink, lay on the couch for days, or eat too much? But it’s pretty nice, right? All I’m telling you that if you want to get healthy, fit and probably happier, you can make a change. Design your own life the way self-determination theory suggest and start working towards it.
Concept of change
It doesn’t matter in which domain (health, work, finance, addictions, relationships, self-improvement, etc.) you want to improve, you need to do something different. Most of the time, we even know what we should do, but we end up doing something else — usually, the same thing we’ve always done. When we fail to do the new thing, our brain tells us that we didn’t have enough self-discipline, energy, time, or whatever excuse we can come up with. What if you could be able to do what you decide? Achieve what you desire? We just stepped into the area of goal achievement.
When we set a goal, which is supposed to make our life better, why can’t we just make it happen? If we want to accomplish something bigger, it’s not going to happen overnight. We need to start repeating positive actions (a task or behavior) regularly to achieve our goal. So to achieve a long term goal, we need to behave differently. The analogy is that lifestyle change is a goal, and achievement will come in the long term. So how do you make yourself take the steps you want to take? How do you make yourself do the things you want to do? We just BASE jumped to the field of behavioral science.
If you doubt that you can’t change, just think about yourself ten years ago. Have you changed?
Behavioral change is a trade-off
Change is about priorities and compromises. When we bring something new to our lives, something has to be left behind — replaced. This sacrifice means that one can’t sleep and watch a movie at the same time. Or eat excessively and lose weight. We need to choose one or the other.
The aim of lifestyle change is to turn something negative into something more positive. It’s about introducing enrichment to one’s life, what they think is valuable. Lifestyle change is a trade-off between:
- Going to bed early and missing the film that you have seen twice already, but waking up well-rested the next morning.
- Eating until you are 80% full of quality foods, but not having the afternoon crash, excess fat, or hunger. Having more energy, savings from restaurants and medical bills, but not having the euphoria from the high-calorie intake.
- Staying home on Saturday evening, but not having to suffer on Sunday, and trying to reset your circadian rhythm for days. Which again affects your brain, energy levels, and productivity. Which again affects your career perspectives. Which again… You get the point.
The whole idea in change is to add something more beneficial to your life. Replacing something you don’t need anymore or add quality to it. Upgrade. To improve.
Change is hard
What is so challenging about a long-lasting change then?
The reality is that introducing a new behavioral pattern takes planning, effort, will, discipline, time, and repetition.
We tend to resist change because our life, as it is right now, feels secure and comfortable — as you know it to be. There is no need to leave our comfort zone, push yourself, or to go somewhere you have never been before. That’s a scary adventure and you might even fail! If you have the right attitude, failing is the most important part, because that is where you learn how you function — failing is where the growth happens. If you know why you fail, you can learn how to succeed.
Life-long learning of you
Whatever your plan is, it never goes out exactly the way you planned it, because we are complex human beings. When you fail, there are three things to learn:
- You can only blame yourself.
- It’s OK to fail.
- Why did you fail?
The first one is obvious, but it hurts to admit — every time.
Positive psychology teach us to forgive and be graceful to ourselves. When you fail, it’s totally fine. Congratulations, you are a human being!
The moment you figure out why you failed, you learn something about yourself. The more you learn about yourself the easier achieving goals get.
How to make a change?
If you have good enough reason(s), that is pretty much all you need. If you know exactly what you want and why you want it, the tolerance of pain and the self-discipline you posses will surprise you.
There are however a bunch of things you can do to make the process easier for yourself and keep yourself out of temptations. Here are two big ones.
Get the environment right
Set your apartment, office, fridge and even relationships to support your goal. It’s hard to get right, but as already mentioned, try to learn what makes you fail. Then set the environment accordingly.
The idea is to have your environment to make your positive tasks easy to start and fun to do. Remove distractions.
The environment can be your worst enemy or best ally.
This is the holy grail of the whole lifestyle change. The most difficult one, but also the most rewarding one.
Self-efficacy is a concept which is defined as “people’s beliefs in their ability to influence events that affect their lives. This core belief is the foundation of human motivation, performance, accomplishments, and emotional well‐being.” So one could state that if you have enough self-efficacy, you can (better) achieve your goals.
The moment you set a goal and begin to work on it, you start to learn about yourself if you stay alert. Self-reflecting your daily failures and victories gives you a realistic picture of:
- What you are capable of achieving?
- How much effort do you need to put to achieve the goal?
- When to start a goal?
- How long it will take to achieve it?
Creating a behavioral change is difficult. You will need all the help there is to achieve a lasting change - therefore we develop a helper tool called Habinator.
Achieving a goal is a learnable skill, but the bigger reward is to learn how you behave — what makes you fail and eventually succeed.
We all need meaning, focus, and vision in your life, which setting a goal can provide. Whenever you are ready to take an adventure, take some time to reflect your values, standards, and priorities — then set a goal.