Making changes can be hard. Is there an area of your life that you would like to change?
Ever tried to break an unhealthy habit such as smoking? Or attempted to start a new and healthy routine – like a morning jog? Many of us attempt to change, make some progress but end up in the same spot we started in. In this section we give you a few ideas that can help you to make that change.
Talking about change
Whether talking about helping another person to make a change or thinking about making changes yourself – there are questions that you can ask that will help identify why change is needed.
Unsure about making changes?
Making changes can be hard, and to be successful you have to be confident that you are making the right change, for the right reasons. The image below can help you think this through. Try talking about it with a friend or family member.
(Source: Heart Foundation: Taking Control)
Talk success - What makes a difference?
Decided to make a change? Whether it’s related to your health, wealth or happiness there are common factors which have been shown to increase success:
- Set a goal that is really important to you and write it down.
- Plan how you are going to achieve the goal.
- Get support from those around you.
- Learn techniques that help you to overcome challenges and build your confidence.
Set a goal & make a plan
Goal setting is one of the best ways to help you make changes. It is a good skill to learn and can be used in many areas of your life, not just when thinking about your health and wellness.
When setting a goal and making an action plan, it’s important to choose something that you want to do. Make it easy on yourself and build up slowly. People who set small and realistic goals are more likely to achieve them and make long-term changes. Try SMARTER goal setting – see below.
SMARTER goal setting
S - Specific
What am I going to do? (What, when, where, how)?
M – Measurable
How will I know when I have got there?
A – Achievable
Is this something I can do? Is it in my control? What will I need?
R – Realistic
Am I being realistic? What are the likely problems?
T – Time bound
Do I have the time to do this?
E – Enjoyable & evaluate
Is this something I want to do? If not, it's much harder to keep at it.
What worked, what didn’t? What can I do differently next week to make it easier or help me succeed?
R – Record & reward
Writing your goal down and placing it somewhere where you will see it often can help to keep you on track. Adding in rewards also helps!
People who just think about their goals tend not to achieve them. Studies have shown that people are more likely to achieve their goals when they:
- Write them down.
- Develop an action plan.
- Share their plan and progress with a friend or someone close to them.
Try using this printable goal setting worksheet (Source: Get Self Help UK) – Think about who could help you and write down their names. There are also many goal setting and action planning apps and online tools for you to choose from (see the resources section at the bottom of the page).
Build a support team
Did you know?
People who are most successful at achieving change usually have support from others (friends and whanau). When you have decided on your goal – think about who you need to talk to and who can support you.
Who is my support team?
You are the most important person in looking after your health. However, it really helps to have support from those around you – your very own ‘health support team’.
To get the most out of your support team, it is helpful if you understand the role each person plays and how they can work together.
There are also other tools: such as online blog sites and social network sites where you can share ideas with others who have been through the same issues as you. Try a few from the resources section below.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): Self Help – free 7 step course Get Self Help UK
SMART goals – printable goal setting worksheet Get Self Help UK
The informed health consumer: making sense of evidence Free online course to help you understand which health evidence is reliable and which is not from FutureLearn
Quitline – smoke free blog The Quit Group, NZ
Free downloadable CBT self-help information leaflets Get Self Help UK