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Changes that Work

Published by Chapster on 2006/2/1 (3839 reads)
Once a month, Barb and Mike meet with Dr. James Griffin to record a segment for the KEOM 88.5FM Community Focus Program. This is a script from the November 30 taping. It deals with making changes that last.

Changes that Work
Recorded 11/30/2005 at the studios of KEOM 88.5FM

Dr. Griffin: So Mike, what are we talking about today?

Mike: Well, with the New Year fast approaching, I thought that I'd talk about changes. Most of us have things in our lives that we'd like to change. Often those changes are forced upon us, such as when we have a physical crisis and we have to make changes in diet and lifestyle. These are the hardest kinds of change to make. Many people say after heart surgery: "You know the heart surgery was the easy part. The hard part is making changes in my life." That's so true.

Dr. Griffin: So what are some of the key components of change?

Mike: Well certainly, motivation. There has to be some genuine intention to change. Patients who have had some kind of heart surgery have a powerful impetus to change - their very lives are at stake. Sometimes folks are able to look down the road of life and see that lifestyle is leading in directions that will bring sickness, and that is sufficient motivation. Certainly, taking the risk of sickness seriously can push us to make changes. These things might cause us to feel guilty and move toward change.

But, I think that permanent change is also driven by positive feelings. Not being a particularly physical person, I find myself, uhh reluctant to go for a walk. But, the opportunity to go for a walk and have a nice chat with my wife seems like something pretty nice to do. Many folks who are dealing with illness of the heart find that as they begin a regular exercise discipline, they feel better about life, they sleep better, they enjoy their lives more, and they are more fully able to participate in life.

Dr. Griffin: So, motivation and intention are important. What else should our listeners bear in mind?

Mike: While some changes need to be made more drastically, by taking the long view we are able to plan how we want to change. The best changes are small ones. Recently, the government has begun an advertising campaign that focusing on making small changes. Some examples are making bottled water readily accessible, parking further away from the store, taking a few stairs occasionally. These are simple changes that can reinforce us for further changes that we want to make later. When we try to make big changes in a short time, they sometimes end in failure because they are too big with not enough reinforcement. The small changes on the other hand seem like less of a violation to our current lifestyle.

Another component, part of what we already mentioned, is the idea of reward. We need to feel like our changes are doing something good for us. Most successful weight loss programs have some rewards built in to them.

Dr. Griffin: Are there any other ideas that can be of help to our listeners today?

Mike: Well, one more idea is to be very intentional in planning your change - what exactly do you want to change, what steps do you want to do to change it, and how will you reward yourself? Write it down. Then, share it with someone you trust. Accountability can be a marvelous catalyst for change. Each day we shape our future lives. Changes can make that life much, much better. As Professor Irwin Corey said: "If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going."

Tags: coping   adversity   change  

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