Creating Sustainable Change

The mountain.

When someone learns about my weight loss journey to shed 200lbs without surgery or pills, I always get asked

“How did you know where to start or what to do to lose that much weight?”

The answer is simpler than you might think. I realized that if I focused on the mountainous task of losing 200lbs that I would get completely intimidated by the big, hairy, aggressive goal I’d set for myself; I would be overwhelmed about where and how to start and sustain the changes necessary to overhaul my nutrition and lifestyle habits.

So, instead of looking miles ahead at the distant, looming mountain, I chose to change my perspective. I looked straight down in front of me into the six inches of space that lay directly in front of my feet. I asked myself what kind of baby step or change I had to make FIRST. Then, I focused on that small, sustainable change or habit and integrated it (and only it) into my lifestyle. Once I felt I had that step down pat, I took the next logical, small and sustainable step towards the mountain. I kept my head down and feet moving, step by step. If I got distracted by the mountain casting its shadow onto my path, I reminded myself that the journey I opted to make would take me to the mountain and OVER it - all I had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Is that the flashy, awe-inspiring answer people wanted to hear? Maybe not, but it’s what worked.

Simple isn’t always “sexy” or easy, but it is simple.

Small and sustainable.

This approach to change applies to all the mountainous goals in our life. For example:

Frustrated with your current job and want to find a better fit?

  • Focusing on finding the new, higher-paying dream job might seem like a daunting task; instead, focus on collecting samples of your work, references from clients/colleagues and exploring feedback from teammates and managers about the value you’re bringing to your current role.
  • From there, decide how to best market your skills and strengths to the next type of role you can shine in.
  • Once all the steps fall into a pattern, you’ll see that you’ve done an incredible amount of legwork (pun intended) toward that mountainous new dream job. The path you need to take to get over the mountain will be clearer and less intimidating than you thought it would be!

When it comes to any daunting, less than invigorating or downright deplorable goal, changing your perspective to focus on the immediate steps you can take will send you down the path in the right direction.

The real benefit is that this approach keeps you distracted long enough from the mountain ahead and focused on the worthwhile and rewarding steps you’re making along the way. Once you stop to assess your progress, you might realize you’ve made it to the first summit or beyond and the distant mountain is now part of your new landscape. That’s where the real appreciation of your journey begins!

Embrace change for what it is: a series of small, sustainable & logical goals.

Pretty soon, you’ll realize how truly manageable those big goals in your life and career can be.


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