Make it a Happy New Year
If you are like millions of us, on Jan 1 you made a commitment to make a change in your life as a part of the New Year. With the many To Do’s on our lists, following through on our commitments can be a challenge. Training ourselves to follow through on steps to achieve our goals is just like training our pets. Counselors, Self-help gurus, Pet Trainers and Behaviorists agree, there are a few key practices that when consistently applied result in lasting changes. Regardless of whether these changes are for us or our furry family members, including the following 5 elements in our plan for success will help make our resolutions a permanent part of our life.
- Get clear on what you want – We need to show our pets what we want first, and we need to show ourselves, too. We demonstrate our desired outcome to our pets so they can know the behavior. For ourselves, we need to identify our goal, the key steps and barriers to achieving it and give ourselves a realistic timeline for attainment.
- Choose a pattern interruption - When our dogs consistently jump on guests or bark, and we can’t stop a disempowering habit like smoking, drinking, over-eating or negative thinking, we must choose a pattern interruption to retrain our brains and our pets to not expect the status quo. This might come in the form of using a Clicker and treating your pets when you have visitors entering your home, and choosing a self-empowering mantra to repeat to yourself.
- Replace it with something else – Consider the behavior you want in your pets and yourself, instead of what you've been experiencing. Do you want your pet to sit instead of jump? Do you want to want to grab fresh fruits and veggies instead of fries and desserts? Decide on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
- Put reminders where you can see them – Keep your Clicker and treats by your front door and get your whole family on board with the training. For yourself, wear a reminder bracelet or arm band and place sticky notes strategically. This will help keep honoring your commitments at the forefront of your mind.
- Celebrate – Reward and praise your pets and yourself when you reach important milestones so that the process of improvement and training feels fun to our pets and our own brain.
Whatever big things we choose to pursue for our lives, and the many ways we work to enjoy more best moments with ours pets, we owe it to our goals and our pets to set ourselves up for success. Put these 5 steps in place so that your 2014 is an exceptional year for you and your pets. The changes you make in your life can be lasting ones.
If you are taking on a new challenge this year, share it with us below!