How to Remind Yourself That You’re on A Journey, and That Journeys Take Time

It’s normal to want fast results when you’re on a self-improvement journey. Whether you want to lose weight, stop smoking or break any other bad habit, it’s hard to accept that the journey requires a slow, steady pace.

You get better results when you’re working on healthy changes if you maintain a positive attitude. No matter what change you’re making, an upbeat frame of mind keeps you on the right path or helps you return if you stumble. Here are some ways to remind yourself that the journey is worth taking:

Monitor your progress

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend this for weight loss, but it’s an adaptable strategy for any self-improvement journey. Let every bit of progress serve as fuel to propel you on your journey. Congratulate yourself even on small successes. Maybe you didn’t lose any weight last week, but you deserve kudos for turning down dessert at the restaurant or resisting the late-night snack urge last night. You might have smoked yesterday, but you stopped yourself several times when you normally would have grabbed a cigarette.

Too often people focus on the negatives and use that as an excuse to veer off the right path completely. A positive focus keeps you in the right mindset, so use small successes as building blocks to larger ones.

Keep busy

Don’t focus all your energy on the changes you’re making. Yes, they’re important, but the goal is to implement them as a regular part of your life, not to make them the entire focus. It’s hard to stay positive when you see every doughnut as an enemy or stare at the clock, counting the hours since your last cigarette. Smokefree.gov recommends fun distractions to lure your mind away from worry. Take a walk, call a friend, go to a movie, indulge in a hobby, or take up a new one. Instead of seeing your habit change as cumbersome, let it be a catalyst that also helps you learn to enjoy life more in other ways.

Get support

It’s possible to pull off major self improvements alone, but the journey is much easier when you’re able to share it with friends. Team up with a buddy on your quest to shed pounds, stop smoking, lose weight, or whatever else you’re aiming to do. A supportive friend can convince you to go to the health club on days when you’re losing motivation or commiserate when you’re feeling down and want to run out for a pint of ice cream. The CDC says that a strong support system is a big help in staying the course.

Reward yourself

When you need to go the distance, don’t save your big reward for the end. Instead, celebrate smaller milestones to help you stay positive and fuel your motivation. Did you exercise at least five days last week? Did you go several days without a cigarette or without going off your healthy eating plan? Reward yourself, whether it’s with something big, like a massage, or small, like taking an hour to yourself in a soothing bath. If you’re like most people, you’re quick to beat yourself up when you slip. Be just as quick to congratulate yourself when you’ve done a good job.