Congratulations! You have identified the things about yourself that you feel you could improve upon. Now the toughest part of self-change is upon you. You have to be willing to change.

Identifying what to change is the easy part. If you are lacking the initiative to change it, you will never achieve the desired outcome. I don’t care what it is you are trying to change, if you lack the true desire to change, you never will.

The old saying goes, “Shit in one hand, want in the other and see which one fills up faster,” is most applicable when it comes to self-motivation and change. You can want to be self-motivated and you can want to change, but if you don’t have the desire and drive to carry it through, that wanting hand will never fill up. Hope is not a strategy.

Each person is different and what works for me may not work for you. You have to ask yourself what motivates you.

For me, I require a plan and a set of goals. For example, I am heavier than I care to be and want to lose weight. Without a strategy and a goal, I will most likely lose my way, fall off the path and revert back to the behaviors that led to my being overweight to begin with.

I set my goal for weight loss on a weekly basis because I need to see progress. I wanted to lose 50 pounds over a course of 12 months. In doing the math I figured I needed to lose a little over 4 pounds a month which equates to roughly one pound a week. This one-pound-a-week objective seemed like a more reasonable goal, and it is something I can work towards without feeling like the end goal is impossible.

Once the goal was set, I needed a plan to follow to reach the goal. If I didn’t change anything about my life, I was never going to lose weight. I had a hard realization that changes needed to be made and I had to be honest with myself about those changes.

In self-assessing my habits, I forced myself to recognize and admit that there were three habits that were preventing me from reaching my target weight. Drinking beer every night, loading my plate with whatever I wanted to eat and living a sedentary lifestyle were packing the pounds on at an alarming rate. I had to make some drastic beverage changes, modify my intake and start doing some vigorous activity in order to start hitting that weekly goal: One. Pound. A. Week.

Modifying my intake and motivating myself to exercise were the hardest things to do because the bad habits that I was comfortable with I had developed to a pro-level.

So how did I find the courage to change? I got mad. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and feeling ashamed, but shame doesn’t motivate me. I also remember moving up four sizes in my pants over a one-year period and being embarrassed about the size of my pants, but embarrassment doesn’t motivate me. I remember trying to put my shoes on in the morning and couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes. That made me mad. Mad motivates me.

I had to get mad enough at myself to want to do something about the fact that I couldn’t tie my freaking shoes. Anger may not be the healthiest way to motivate oneself. But it works for me. I was mad enough that I stopped drinking and buying beer. I got mad enough to go on a full Keto diet.

I got mad enough to want to exercise. At first, I went to the gym every day and spent 30 minutes on the elliptical but I hate the gym. I modified my exercise program to fuse exercise and fishing but that is another story.

I ended up losing 40 pounds in 6 months and I wasn’t really trying that hard. All I did was get mad enough to want to change the bad habits that led to a very large me.

Don’t try to change too many things at once. Develop one good habit at a time and make sure it sticks before moving onto the next or you may overwhelm yourself and fail. To have a better shot at success you must find out what motivates you and be willing to make the changes that will help you become a better you. Hoping, wishing or wanting are not strategies that brings results. Actions bring results. The sooner you figure that out the sooner you can begin becoming a better you.

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