"Change is hard." Have you ever heard that or said that before? There’s no doubt that change of any sort can be challenging. Otherwise, there would be no need for coaches, programs, smart phone apps or self-help books to assist people in the process. Think about it for a moment: Have you ever made a change or set a goal and actually achieved it, or conquered it? Sure you have. Perhaps it was starting (and sticking to) a workout routine. Losing or gaining a certain number of pounds. Acing a test. Cutting out sugar or gluten. Drinking more water. Whatever your particular instance was, think about that for a moment, and answer this: What were some of the key factors that played a role in your success with that change or goal attainment? Motivation? Accountability? Determination? And, we’d like to garner even some awareness. We are talking about awareness of your thoughts, your actions and your emotions around that change. In order to see the positive changes you want to see, or make the continual progress you want to make, it is important to keep in mind the huge role your emotions can play in your change process. Let’s take a change in your nutrition for instance. Say you want to start eating healthier. You identify that "eating healthier" actually means throwing out the Ben & Jerry’s, stocking up on some fresh fruits and veggies, preparing your meals at home instead of calling in take-out. All good things. However, when the rubber meets the road, and you find yourself neeeeeeeeding something sweet at 3 p.m.…it is times, such as these, that an awareness around your emotions is a HUGE safeguard in sticking to your guns on your goals and intentions. Why are you neeeeeeeding something sweet? With a little bit of reflection, and digging a little bit deeper, you realize that you are…bored…tired…getting a headache (because you’ve trained your body to become sugar-dependent)...looking for something to fill your loneliness or stress…you name it. The reasons for feelings and emotions are vast. Another example? You want to make a change in your strength. You want to see gains—stop plateauing in your fitness. So you hire a coach. You get a plan. And you receive quite a bit of advice: Focus on the big lifts (squats, deadlifts, presses). Cut back on the met-cons. Eat a few more sweet potatoes, add in a little more protein and don’t forget to include your fats with every meal. Get 8 hours of quality sleep. Sounds simple, right? However, once again, when the rubber meets the road, and it comes down to implementing the advice you’ve been given, things just seem too daunting. Sleep is not happening. Eating that much food is too difficult (not enough time in the day). You like your met-cons gosh darn it. What feelings, or emotions, are coming up for you when trying to make change? Stress? Overwhelmed? Feelings of defeat? Apathy? Exhaustion for the process? Whatever they are, you will not fully be able to embrace and experience the change you desire until you are aware of your own emotions—and heart’s investment—in the process. Knowledge is power—and the more you can begin to identify the emotions surrounding your triumphs and struggles with making change (why sometimes it is harder, or easier, than other), the more you will begin to experience success in the goals you set for yourself. Here are some things you can try this week, in keeping up with a goal, a food diary or training log your have for yourself: 1. Identify ONE small change that builds into one of your long-term goals for success. It could be drinking more water (1/2 your bodyweight in ounces), replacing gluten with more veggies, kicking your Ben & Jerry’s nightly ritual to the curb, making yourself go to bed 30-minutes earlier - anything. 2. Focus. Your aim, this week, is to focus on that one thing and the baby steps you take daily to making it happen. And not only the baby (action) steps, but also the emotions, feelings and thoughts that surround those little steps you take. What comes up for you? 3. Write and reflect. Keep a daily written account, or log, around those changes (for example: a food diary for your new healthy nutrition choices, with also a log of the emotions/feelings that came up for you around those meals, or a daily end-of-the-day log about your emotions/feelings/thoughts surrounding the extra work you committed to putting into the gym, or the extra effort you took to begin to incorporate more work-life balance and leave work at work, etc.). Whenever you decide you want to make a change, chances are, there are going to be a variety of emotions, feelings and thoughts surrounding that change. Start small. Reflect. And over time, small changes AND intentional thinking, from the get go, equal long term (sustainable) change you desire.