Every year (about this time), people are contemplating what changes to make in their lives, how to better themselves for the coming year, what bad habits they want to ditch once and for all.
The New Year reminds us that we have a clean slate for eating less, exercising more, being kinder, gentler and just better (if not healthier and happier) versions of ourselves. So we swear off all things bad and try to embrace the good.
Not a bad way to start a new year, but often misguided in the need to join the crowd in making a change. Perhaps that’s the reason many of the things we supposedly resolve to do as the clock strikes twelve don’t come to be as the year goes on.
So how do we make change stick this time? How do we go from resolution to habit? How do we (finally) make this the year of change?
First of all, stop waiting for the right time to change, a new year, a new month, a new city. If you feel it’s time for a change, make the change…NOW! Make a change in middle of the day on a Wednesday if that’s when you feel most inspired.
Next, don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on too much change all at once. Start with a small change and go from there. Want to get in shape? Start by scheduling a 15-minute walk every morning or trying to add 1,000 extra steps to your routine.
Build on your success by considering the new habit the minimum standard. Don’t let yourself go back to your old ways. Instead make your new small step the new minimum standard even though you could justify allowing an exception to the rule.
Once you develop a new habit, try to stretch toward your next goal. Raise the bar a little higher and double your previous goal. It’s easier to build on a habit that started small than establish an entirely new one.
Never turn a failure into an excuse to give up! So what if you cheated on your no more tech-time on weekends rule. That’s no reason to give up on the goal. If you have to, go back to your initial small steps to re-establish the habit and build from there.
Become a goal-getter by continuing to challenge yourself to change! Make making change part of your growth plan. Once you are happy with the change you’ve made in one aspect of your life, move onto another area!