Day 81: Things I Learned in Therapy: Part 2

Why do we fail at change?

I sat in her office and wondered out loud, “How do you actually make positive changes? Let’s say I want to work out three times a week. And that happens… for three weeks… or even one week… or even two months! But then it’s always back to what I’m comfortable with. Skipping the gym, staying in, reading and taking a long bath, only to step on the scale and realize I really worked out those three weeks for literally nothing.”

My therapist told me that the wrong way to make these big life changes was how we actually all do it. We wait until we are hyper motivated and we say “THAT’S IT! I START TOMORROW!” When in reality, that method sets us up to fail.

Instead, there are phases that you need to go through and spend a decent amount of time in each stage in order for change to stick. If change isn’t sticking, you might not be spending enough time in each phase.

Phase 1: Pre-Contemplation:
This is where you’re thinking “I don’t really need to change. Things are totally fine and everything is good.”

Phase 2: Contemplation:
Thinking that maybe it could be beneficial to make a small change. You start to wonder how your life could be better if you make those changes.

Phase 3: Prep:
Maybe you research some articles online. Maybe you start to gain excitement about the changes you want to make and you start mapping out your plan.

Phase 4: Action:
It’s official! You’ve started working your plan! You ask your friends and family for support and the changes you’ve planned are in full swing!

Phase 5: Maintenance:
You accept yourself, you’ve made your changes, and you’re helping others make changes of their own. You might slip here and there but you’re always game to get right back on track without beating yourself up.

Okay. So change isn’t “THAT’S IT, I START TOMORROW!” It’s slow, it’s gradual, and most importantly, it’s strategic in a way that fits who you are.

Let me explain. I once sat frustrated AF in my therapist’s office, ranting about how I thought success wouldn’t be available to me until I woke up at 6 AM every day, ran for three miles and drank a green smoothie for breakfast. I thought this because almost every photographer I adore talks about how they wake up at six, work out like crazy and drink a green smoothie… meanwhile I’m rocking an 8:00 am wake up time and eating popcorn for breakfast.

I learned that maybe I’m not an organized person who thrives on a tight, early morning schedule. So any attempts to become that person will always feel against the grain for me. In reality, I’m a go with the flow… action when inspiration strikes… kind of girl, so it would be in my best interest to create a life that embraces those truths about me.

Going back to working out: I actually hate running outside. No thx. I also can’t stand hiking, which is sad because every girl on Instagram seems to love it. I definitely feel left out not having a photo of me doing a handstand on a mountain top. What I do love is going to the actual gym. And within that, I love taking their Pilates classes and walking on the treadmill on an incline. I also love swimming and playing basketball. So if I think “Hey all these super fit mamas seem to all be rocking it out in Yoga” but meanwhile, I don’t like yoga class… I’m setting myself up.

Strategy means choosing one solution or method out of MANY. Is yoga class the only way to get fit? NOPE! Are swimming and treadmill inclines another way? YES! Better yet, are swimming and treadmill inclines a way to get fit that WORKS WITH WHO I AM? YES!!!!!

What change are you looking to make?

•Serving your clients better?
•Visiting more venues?
•Eating healthier?
•Quitting Diet Coke?
•Working out more?
•Waking up earlier?
•Going to bed earlier?

Explore all the options and different strategies to make that happen and choose the one that works with WHO YOU ARE. Don’t try to go against your own grain.

Whew. Friends, that was an intense day. I’d love to know your thoughts and beliefs about change in the comments below and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!  If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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