Over the course of this series, we’ve explored ideas and strategies to help you to:
- Become more aware.
- Live more from a place of choice instead of should/have to.
- Work through fears change can create.
- Identify what you most value now.
- Be more of your authentic self.
- Mind the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
Each part of the series also helped you see how to apply these concepts with patients and caregivers to help them better cope with the impact a change in health has on them and their lives. Be sure to go back and revisit the earlier steps if you missed some.
Life as ongoing evolution
Change happens every moment. Life is not static. Nothing remains the same—neither the perceived “good” moments nor the “bad” moments. During times I am experiencing the wonderful ups of life, I remind myself, “This, too, shall pass” and do my best to revel in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
In darker times of challenging change, I also remind myself, “This, too, shall pass.” There is a difference between the idea that nothing remains the same and nothing lasts forever. It is possible to create lasting, sustainable change. In its most simplistic expression, consider sustainable change as a habit—an ingrained way of doing and being. What we’re working toward with this series is to release old habits and old ways of thinking that do not serve us and replace those with habits that create less stress, more happiness, and greater overall well-being.
Seven steps to sustainability
Sustainability is defined as “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.” To create habits that stick with you requires practice. Whether you’re working on changing your thought patterns, lifestyle habits, or how you react to stress, to create and maintain those changes, you need to approach it like a professional athlete approaches their sport…practice, practice, practice.
Athletes are a great point of reference. When an athlete wants to improve, they:
- Identify what’s not working or where they’d like to improve, and what is needed to have it work better (could be a skill, resource, experience over time, help from a team member).
- Acquire what is needed.
- Create a strategy for consistently practicing or applying the new skill or resource.
- Schedule regular practice and set up accountability (with self-directed technology or having an accountability partner such as a team coach or team member).
- Practice and observe the impact of the new skill.
- Adjust based on insights gained from your observations.
- Practice more until you are living it daily without much thought.
This is an excellent seven-step formula for helping you make sustainable changes. You can use this formula to practice any of the new strategies we’ve covered in this series. Small changes made consistently over time is my mantra to coaching clients. Don’t try to change too much all at once. Choose one of the strategies in the areas we’ve covered and follow the seven-step formula until it comes as easy and automatic to you as breathing does. Then, you can tackle something else.
Luke Iorio, the President of iPEC, a leading coach training institute, says this about change: “When you change your moments, you change your days. Change enough days and you change your life.” This drives home how sustainable change truly does come from small, consistent changes over time, not completely overhauling your life all at once.
Consider how this can help the patients and caregivers in your care. Let’s say someone has a new medical device that is now part of his or her daily well-being. Maybe someone needs to check glucose levels and inject insulin as a result of a diagnosis of diabetes. This involves learning a new skill and getting tips on how to be successful. Providing them with the seven-step formula can reduce some of the stress. It can help them see change is a process, requires practice, and there is a learning curve they will go through. When they understand this it helps them to be less judgmental of their progress, to learn and adjust as they go, and to see they can reach out for support and resources.
As we close out this series, you now have seven steps for creating change and a seven-step process for making it sustainable.
What is one thing you’d most like to change right now to reduce your stress and improve your quality of life? How can you use this series to achieve that for yourself? You deserve to have more of what you want for all that you do for others.
Post comments if there is any way I can support and help you achieve a change sustainably that would improve your life!