There are lots of factors that are incredibly important in creating any positive change: starting small, taking small steps all along the way, finding motivation and accountability, finding the support of people around you (or finding it online), learning to mindfully notice your urges to quit.
These are all super important. But there’s another factor that most people overlook: how you feel about the change.
This is what I’ve learned in the decade-plus since I’ve been doing this, for myself and helping other people:
1. If you’re not in the mood to take the small steps you need to make the change, you’ll probably procrastinate. Same if you’re overly tired.
2. If you feel excited about the change, you’ll take the steps.
3. If you miss a couple of days, you feel discouraged and are likely to not even want to think about it. We’re very good at avoiding thinking about uncomfortable things.
4. If you can keep the good feeling going, you’ll form a habit or make the change you want to make.
5. Other people can be discouraging, or they can be encouraging. This makes a lot of difference.
6. We ourselves can talk to ourselves (in our heads, what we call as “self-talk”) in a positive, encouraging way, or we can talk to ourselves in a negative, discouraging way.
It’s easy to get stuck in a negative mood, where you just don’t think you can do it and give up caring. Our minds tend towards the negative. We put up resistance whenever we think about making changes.
7. It’s also possible to get on a positive track, where you’re feeling great about the changes and want to keep going. This is amazing. But it doesn’t always last forever, so you have to be mindful of how you’re feeling.
You can see from all of the above how important your attitude is, your mood, your feeling about the change. You can see that it’s affected by how you’re feeling each day, your tiredness and stress levels, how encouraging or discouraging other people are toward you, and how you talk to yourself.