Maintenance Isn’t Just For Machines (Transcription)
Hi this is Dr. Ron Kaiser with your podcast for April 2014 from The Mental Health Gym. Let me start by asking whether you remember back to your school days when you took a class that wasn’t a subject that you weren’t particularly interested in but you worked quite hard at it and got yourself a good grade. Remember how proud you were?
Now let me ask you this; how much do you remember from that class? The amount you remember is really a function of the maintenance that you did to build upon and refine and keep going the knowledge that you learned in that class. If it was a class in the humanities, are you continuing to read? If it was a class in computers, are you continuing to use the computer and learn the new technology, keep up with it? All this goes under the category of maintenance.
We’re used to thinking about maintenance as applying to machines. We maintain our cars, we maintain our equipment in various other ways I just mentioned computers, if we all maintain our computers we’re gonna have a lot of potential for spam and overload and trash and things of that nature that fills up the space and makes the computer run less efficiently. So I think it’s very important to give some attention to the concept of maintenance in those behaviors that we set about to change.
We’re not just talking about machines and other equipment in cars and so on but basically how do we maintain our self in order to be the best “we” that can become. And how do we maintain ourselves to maintain being the best “we” that we can become. You know whenever people try to change habits; it’s very difficult to get started. But when you change that habit you feel so proud.
You know if you set out to lose 10 pounds and you lose 5 along the way, it’s really motivating. When you reach that 10 pound level that you’re trying to lose, most people will feel really really proud. Now the problem occurs with the question of whether we have made that change and lost that weight as a real life style change. Otherwise it’s like taking a class and then forgetting about it afterwards. And pretty soon we don’t have the same knowledge of it, the same interest and the same ability to recall information from that class.
And that’s why a lot of diets fail. And that’s why a lot of people fail in the effort to maintain success once they’ve stopped smoking or stopped drinking. That’s why some of the gyms have less equipment than they need if all their members would continue to show up and use those equipments, those pieces of equipment. But we know that lots of people start out with the goal but don’t hold to it after they’ve accomplished the certain amount of effort toward reaching that goal or perhaps actually reaching the goal. But not maintain the behaviors.
If we’ve set out to learn some of the great books and to develop kind of a reading program for ourselves, once we’ve read those handful of books that we really set out to do, do we continue to do that? Do we maintain good grooming if we set out to do that? A very important aspect of maintenance is the whole idea of getting ourselves more involved with others.
If we haven’t been socializing, if we’ve haven’t been interacting with friends and then we set out and do it and say ok I’m gonna try and do something once a week for every week of the month and we do that for three or four, five or six months and then sit back self satisfied and take a break. It becomes harder and harder to get back to socializing just as it gets harder and harder to get back to the gym, gets are harder and harder to get back to reading once you’ve given up that block of time that you devoted to it and it gets harder and harder to think of yourself as having made that change.
We’re talking about habit behaviors now and old habits die hard, but once you’ve gone through the process of changing a habit, of quitting smoking, of exercising, of interacting with others, of being mindful of needs of others, then it should really not be excusable to not maintain the newer and better habits. Maintenance enables us to move from changing a habit to maintaining and growing the new habit and making that increasingly a part of us. That’s really the key to it.
Maintenance makes behavior change a part of us. And that’s something that we should really commit ourselves to whenever we make the change. Some people don’t think beyond the actual process of making that change of saying that I’m going to stop drinking, I’m going to eat healthy, things of this nature and then we accomplish it but don’t have a plan for continuing it. Thinking about maintenance enables us to have that plan. Keep it in mind any time that you make a behavior change and you’ll have a lot better chance of making it stick so when you change the behavior, when you decide to change the behavior also implement that plan for maintenance. It’s not just for machinery.
This has been Dr. Ron Kaiser with the April 2014 podcast from The Mental Health Gym. Hope this gives some food for thought and as always I would like to hear from you with your thoughts on it, any additional ideas that can be helpful and can be spread to others. It’s good talking with and I’ll look forward to meeting again with you on May.