How to make New Year changes that last
New year is often viewed as a time for making resolutions to be and do better in life.
Self-improvement is always a good thing but if you are making changes, make sure you give yourself the best chance to succeed.
More than 95 percent of resolutions fail within 6 weeks. The most common resolutions relate to exercising more, losing weight, and eating healthily. These are all good put perhaps knee-jerk reactions to the excesses of the last few weeks. If you want to make lasting positive changes, take time to reflect on what changes would be most beneficial for you and then plan a strategy to get there starting and continuing with smaller steps.
Many animals hibernate at this time of year. It is a time when we naturally rest and reflect more. It is not so much a time for making big changes. It is more of a time of learning and exploring and taking smaller actions in positive and new directions. Smaller, micro-changes that are sustained make for big progress in the medium and longer-term. When we do something for 5 minutes a day and sustain that for 5 weeks and then increase, we are much more likely to sustain the habit. An improvement of one percent per day in any area of our life leads to a 3800 percent improvement at the end of the year.
Any of the changes that I have ever integrated successfully in a lasting way have been gradual.
Here are 9 tips that will help you make changes that last in 2019:
1. Take January to look at your life. What changes would benefit you ? Take time to reflect. Start incorporating small changes incrementally and see what works and learn from that.
2. Look back at your life and positive changes you have made or goals you have achieved in the past. What worked and why? Learn from that and see what you can apply to your current situation.
3. Pick one negative to improve and a positive to develop. It shouldn't be all about what you cannot do. When we focus only on what we can't do, we feel deprived.
4. When you decide what you want to achieve (perhaps at the end of January), write it down and commit. Read it regularly.
5. Start small and build. Do something towards your goal every day. Assess progress. Expect to not do it perfectly. Give yourself time to fully integrate new habits. You are looking for steady progress and not perfection. One cigarette doesn't make you a smoker. One biscuit doesn't mean your healthy eating plan is out the window.
6. If you want to exercise more, choose something you enjoy doing. If you don't like going to the gym but love dancing, find a dance class or a way of practicing at home or out with friends. The practice should be fun and easily fit in with your lifestyle if you want to sustain it over time. Choose what suits you-not what works for others.
7. Practicing exercise (or anything else) with others can sometimes make you more likely to 'show up'. If you have a walking date with your friend or a commitment to be on a team after work, you are more likely to be there. If you are relying on others to motivate you, make sure they are motivated.
8. Don't procrastinate but don't try and do it all at once. There is a balance.
9. Be positive and encouraging in your thinking.
If you want your life to change, it starts and ends with you. Best of luck!