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"Make Desired Behavior Changes Non-Negotiable"

Date: 03/18/04

Thoughts For A Thursday
by Nancy Gerber
March 18, 2004

"Make Desired Behaviors Non-Negotiable"

One of the keys to getting different results is to change our behavior. Identifying WHAT shift needs to happen is the easy part. Ask anyone who is unhappy about some aspect of their life, and they'll be able to tell you in great detail exactly what they should do, need to do, are planning to do and why it's so important that they do it.

Implementing consistent and permanent new behavior patterns is another story. Ask that same person WHY they are not taking the actions that they know are so essential, and the litany of excuses begins. We all know them because we've all used them. We have no time, no money, no will power. We're not a morning person, we have no energy in the evenings. We have no self-discipline, no creativity, no motivation. We're not good with money, or people, or technical things. No one else we know is interested, and we don't want to do it alone. Everyone else is doing the same thing, and we don't want to get lost in the crowd. It's too much work. It's too simple, so it can't really have much value. It'll mess up our hair. So-and-so was a miserable failure when they tried it. Our family and friends tell us we just don't have the right stuff. We don't want to look stupid and clumsy. We're too old, too young, too inexperienced, too jaded. We're comfortable with the way things are, and it's really just too much trouble to do anything else....

For me, one of the keys to implementing permanent and lasting behavior change is a simple -- yet essential -- shift in my thinking. I must decide that taking a particular set of actions is an absolute -- and non-negotiable -- priority, as important as breathing, or sleeping. For example, unless there is a change in my routine (travel or a special event), nothing gets in the way of my exercise program. I've even delayed snuggle time on the couch with my husband -- a rarity with our busy schedules -- in order put in time on the Yoga mat. My motivation is quite simple -- I don't like pain. I choose to invest about 15 hours a week to keep my discomfort as small as possible. Although there may be other options, this is the path that makes the most sense for me. As much as I sometimes wish things were different, and that I could get by with less time at the gym and in the pool, this is my reality, and I accept it, and take active responsibility for managing my own well being.

This choice -- to make certain behaviors non-negotiable -- helps me in other areas of my life and business. I've begun to identify what things I need to do consistently in order to achieve the results that are important to me. When I plan my schedule, or I'm faced with a decision about how I'm going to spend my time, I have some strong guidelines to keep me focused and on track. I alone am responsible for my outcomes.

Where would you like to see different results? What behaviors need to become non-negotiable so that you can get where you want to go?

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Copyright 2004 by Nancy Birnbaum-Gerber. All rights reserved. Re-transmission, printing or distribution of part or all of this publication permitted as long as authorship, copyright notice, subscription instructions and complete contact information are included.

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