How I Made Big Change Happen

Hint: it's about how you frame your internal message

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Picture this.

You’re a big person. Like, 6′ 4″ and 265 pounds. BIG.

  • You don’t like how you feel.
  • You don’t like how you look.
  • You don’t like being called “big guy.”

And, it’s been this way for years.

You’ve wanted to change…but those darn personal barriers…the wrong mindset always seems to get you.

The gym? HAH! You’re one of those poor shlubs who joins in January, goes three maybe four times, and then perhaps remembers to cancel by July.

Diet? HAH! Meet shmiet.

Most of all, however, you’re ashamed by the poor example you set for your kids.

Something must change.

This was me at the end of last year.

Like you, I was seeing tons of articles, posts, and lists about New Year’s resolutions…

What you can do better next year. How you can be better in your life, your work, your relationships.

In short? It’s all about personal change. But, making any change stick—as I’m sure you know—is hard.

A year ago, I had a vision of a healthier life for myself and my family. I knew all the barriers already—I had lived with them forever. So I changed my approach. And I made change stick. Here’s what I did to start.

Picture the results you desire, and measure all the barriers against them.

OK. I know. It sounds like a page out of “The Secret,” that self-help book from years ago that, in short, says to think about the very things that you want to accomplish, and they’ll happen.

But really. This was the first thing I did. I knew I wanted:

  • To lose weight.
  • To feel better.
  • To provide a positive example to my kids.

I thought about all the excuses and personal history and compared it all to these three things. What’s truly most important?

I researched new types of gyms and workouts. I found one that was more suited to my needs. Now it was expensive. Really expensive. (Barrier warning!!

But, instead of caving to a typical barrier, I reconsidered my internal message. I envisioned my desired end-result. 

I presented it, first to myself…and then to my wife, like this:

If you could spend $2000 and KNOW in a year you’d be remarkably healthier…lose weight…feel and look great, and most of all, provide a positive, healthy role model for your kids…would you spend it? Is there really any reason why you wouldn’t?

We both joined the gym.

I wrote down these words and stuck them to the most visible space on the fridge.

Fast forward a year…I have:

  • Lost 35 pounds.
  • Lost 4 and a half inches on my waist.
  • Burned more than 75,000 excess calories.
  • Created a different culture in my household.

And that change will permeate into next year, and the many after that, all because of the way it was presented.

So, you might be wondering…what the heck does an example of some fat, middle-aged dude becoming more fit have to do with changes I want to make in MY work…in MY life…in MY relationships?

It’s about the message. 

It’s about how you frame the change you want to make in the language that can make action happen. 

And, it’s about coming back to the goals consistently as a reminder.

Truly though, I found it’s mostly this:

If you recognize the genuine cares of your audience, and create and deliver messaging that aligns with those cares on an emotional level, you can influence behavior. 

You can make change stick.

So as you go into this new year, think about your desired change. 

Put it in a different perspective. 

Try to create a message around the results and specifically what they will do for your audience

Then, you’ll start to make change happen.

A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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