Three I’s of Improvement Interference


Photo: Hawk Central

The first three months of my 2015 Progress Pyramid reminded me about the challenges that surface whenever changes and habits for personal improvement are being made. Most goal interference falls under three categories labeled the “Three I’s of Improvement Interference.”

  1. Illness
  2. Injury
  3. Inconvenience

The first month my Progress Pyramid habit was to exercise at least one hour per day, six days a week. The second month was to hand-write and send a personal note to everyone I met with each day. For the third month, I committed to focus on improving my eating habits to eliminate sugar and processed foods. There were challenges that interfered with each new habit. Reviewing them, it became clear that the majority of the challenges fell into one of the three categories listed above.

Illness was the rarest, but one of the hardest to deal with. Being healthy the majority of the time makes it harder to cope with illness when it occurs because of the marked difference in the ability to perform. It is important to analyze the level of illness and take the appropriate action. Most functions can be accomplished when we are sick, but not with the same proficiency as when we are healthy. For super achievers there is a tendency to ignore the body’s need and demand for rest. It is best to respect the body and rest. Missing a few days of a new habit is okay. Restart the new habit development when your health is restored.

Injury is something most athletes deal with regularly. The degree of injury will dictate what level of activity can be done. Ignoring injuries and / or masking them with pain-killers are not the best option. By doing both I allowed a minor shoulder injury to progress until I lost strength and functionality in my right arm. When I finally took the appropriate action and sought treatment, I experienced rapid improvement. Seeking appropriate treatment earlier would have meant sixty days of reduced performance instead of eighteen months. If an injury is interfering with your Progress Pyramid habit, it is best to choose a different habit. Rather than aggravating the injury or giving up on your improvement plan, select a different habit to work on. Meditation and reading are good options when physical injuries interfere with a habit.

Inconvenience is the most common and hardest interference to overcome. All four areas of the Progress Pyramid habits are affected by inconvenience issues. Work schedules, travel, availability, and lack of resources all interfere with almost every type of improvement goal. Time constraints are major inconveniences that interfere with changing habits. All three of my Progress Pyramid habits started this year require more time. Exercising takes time out of the day. It takes more time to write and send a note than to type an email. Shopping for and preparing quality food is more time consuming and expensive than eating out. Commitment and discipline are required to overcome Inconvenience.

Although one may experience obstacles when trying to change habits for personal growth, it is helpful and hopeful to recognize that these interfering challenges can be recognized and overcome with time, substitute activities, or discipline.   The important take-away is to get back on track with your Progress Pyramid when the Three “I’s” are resolved, and continue to move forward with your goals.

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