When I was walking our puppy, Auggie, in September, I was Voxer-ing with my colleague. We had been talking about personal development goals, and then I shifted to telling her about some of the lessons I needed to teach Auggie, what he was getting, what was a challenge, and I said, “Oh my word. I AM Auggie.” Maybe some of these resonate with you as well.
What I’ve learned from Auggie:
Auggie is eager to please. As we all are when we start out making behavior changes. We start out well on our goal. We WANT to succeed, so we look to whatever plan, coach, or program we’ve chosen and stumble over ourselves. We are eager to make this work.
Auggie needs help to stay in check. For him, that means a leash as so much is new, he hasn’t learned where danger is, and he forgets himself in his enthusiasm. When starting a new way of eating or trying to change a behavior, we need a few tools as kind of “check” that help us stay on track. It could be an accountability partner, a coach to guide and support, an app for support, or having a plan for when we’re tempted to detour.
Auggie isn’t yet capable of good behavior all the time. He’s still learning boundaries, manners, and the rules of the house. It’s a process – for him as well as us. If we could do it perfectly from the start, we would have done it already. Give yourself some grace, please.
Auggie needs guidance to get the lessons to be a little gentleman. He wouldn’t do it on his own.
We think we should just get it somehow if we keep trying, but I know my 40 years of trying didn’t make it happen. Willpower and behavior change do not sprout up out of nowhere. It doesn’t work like that.
We make choices, AND we still need some training and guidance for what we have not yet learned. No learning and growing comes without challenges and mistakes. It’s a process to incorporate new behaviors and choices, make them your habit and then your lifestyle. When you do, however, your goal becomes your way of life.