As January rumbles slowly on, the burning question is: have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions yet?
Let’s be honest, we’re all full of good intentions on New Year’s Eve as we raise our glasses. All the tweaks and changes we’re going to make to our lives which will set us on the path to nirvana, that imaginary place where all things are perfect.
Sadly this place only exists inside our heads.
Well here’s the great news. From my point of view, you’re not meant to ‘stick’ to resolutions. They aren’t set in stone, with a pass or fail.
There are several times in the year when you can feel as if you want to make a fresh start, New Year being the main one for obvious reasons. All that has gone before is over and you have a blank sheet to start again.
Having made decisions about the areas of you and your life that you want to change you then adopt an all or nothing mentality – and herein lies the problem.
Off you trot on 1 Jan, all singing and dancing with a new focus and determination, absolutely nothing is going to stop you adopting this new way of being.
A couple of hours in, you feel smug and a real achiever. Mid afternoon as the newness wears and the sugar craving kicks in, you decide the weather is too cold to exercise – after all ‘in this cold you’re bound to pull a muscle’ – you don’t pick up the phone to that new business prospect… and so the stories unfold as to why sticking to your new resolution all of a sudden seems like a bad idea.
This almost always happens with New Year’s resolutions. But why?
Habits of a lifetime?
Well, you’ve created your existing habits over a long period of time, often years, so they are now automatic. It’s like teaching a child to clean their teeth. You remind them every morning and evening, and before long they are telling you.
This is how habits occur – through repetition.
So if you’re already beating yourself up for having failed, here are some great tips to get you focused on what you decided you wanted at the start of the year:
- Give yourself time. There are varying studies that relate to how long it actually takes to change a habit, but to get something new into your routine you have to do it every day for at least 90 days before it can become second nature. 90 days! Not a few hours or a couple of weeks.
- Start small. This helps to create a bigger picture. Try changing one thing at a time and when that comes easily move onto the next. We are all designed to expand and grow (not in a too-many-mince-pies sort of way!) and as we change our aspirations for our lives change too.
- Know where you’re starting from. You can’t successfully make any journey in life – be it personal or business – without a plan. Ever heard the saying ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’? You need to know exactly where you are starting from and where you actually want to end up. Sounds so simple but you would be amazed at how many people just don’t think this step through.
- Create milestones. Acknowledge every small step you make, rather than focusing on what you haven’t achieved. You’ve probably made more progress than you think. Reward yourself, too – think of something that makes you feel good that will indicate how well you have done so far.
- Give yourself a break. You’re only human. Don’t make your new goals and dreams seem like hardship. They’re designed to improve your life. Imagine how you’ll feel when you’ve achieved your goal. If it’s personal, think of being fitter, healthier and happier and if it’s business imagine being that really successful businesswoman with fabulous clients and more money in the bank.
Thoughts really do become things so one of the best resolutions you can make is to think positively about the good stuff that is going to enhance your life.