This year’s Super Bowl will soon be upon us. Although I don’t have a rooting interest in either team in this year’s game, I look forward to watching it – and I suspect most of you will be doing so as well.
There have been some very exciting Super Bowl games recently, but over the years there have also been some blowouts. I’ve noticed that some of the lopsided games occurred when a team that had been to the Super Bowl before handily defeated a team that had a history of rarely or never having been to the big game.
It’s almost as if one of the teams reached it’s goal by getting to the Super Bowl, and then lost to a team that knew a little more about winning.
It’s quite similar to what I’ve experienced in working with patients around issues dealing with behavior change. Some individuals go on a diet and are successful in reaching their goal weight – but they don’t maintain it. Some smokers are able to quit long enough to exceed their last period of being smoke-free, but then they relapse. Some workaholics get home for dinners with their family for a week or two before reverting to the pattern of giving more time to their workplaces than to their families.
The setting and achieving of goals is a necessary component of behavior change – but it is not sufficient. Changing behavior without a plan for maintaining the behavior change is like getting to the Super Bowl and not planning a strategy for winning.
Some of The Mental Health Gym’s free downloads provide tools for ongoing maintenance of behavior change. For example, it is hard to relapse to old behaviors if you regularly use our exercise cards to keep improving in your desired areas of change.
The most critical tool, however, is your desire to be a winner and to achieve personal victories – by not just aspiring to achieve goals but also to maintain new behaviors as a permanent part of your lifestyle.