Tips on how to make changes that last
It is a time of year when many of us reflect and commit to being better and doing better. This is a noble intention but we all know what the road to hell is paved with. Have you made plans for self-improvement this year? If you haven't this article may inspire some. And if you have, it may help you increase your chances of long-term success. Ninety percent of new year's resolutions are abandoned within 6 weeks. Here are my 12 top tips to help you make lasting positive changes to your life in 2018 and beyond.
1. Start small and build. Psychologically, we are more inclined to maintain small incremental changes. This is more obvious when we think in terms of physical exercise. You would expect to train and steadily build up to running a marathon. The same approach works for all changes.
2. Your own life experience is your best teacher. Reflect on past changes you made and sustained. What were the key factors for your success?
3. While it can be useful to tell one person that will hold you accountable and check in with you from time to time, it is not always helpful to tell everyone what you are doing. It may serve you better to focus your energy on doing what you need and want to do, not updating others.
4. Do what makes you happy. E.g. If you hate going to the gym but love dancing, choose dancing as your exercise.
5. Make the changes incremental. Integrate one or two changes. Sustain them for a month and then make further changes. And continue.
6. If you are adding things to your day, take something off.
7. Don't reduce sleep to fit more in. Sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture the world over.
8. If the changes relate to your diet, plan what you will eat and have it available near you.
9. Don't expect to do new things, particularly if they are challenging when you are at your most exhausted. Always give quality time to new ventures.
10. If you fail or fall off the wagon, don't give out to yourself and don't punish yourself. Get back into it.
11. Write down your resolutions and goals and look at them weekly and adjust to your circumstances. Reflect on what worked and what didn't. If your goal is to get healthy, food, exercise and mental wellbeing will all be part of that. Explore until you find what works best for you.
12. Meditate. This makes each change easier to maintain. If you can change your mind, you can change anything. Meditation is the ultimate workout for your mind making it strong, balanced and flexible enabling you to make lasting changes more easily.
After reading these 12 tips, reflect and plan a few areas you want to improve in 2018. It is not about making sudden big changes that last a month. It is about sustaining positive changes to your life-style that last a lifetime. Regular reviews will refine and redefine things. 85 percent of people that lose weight on diets put it back on … and more. Rash sudden changes that involve an on or an off-button do not last and create an all or nothing mind-set. This can easily lead to imbalance and unhappiness. It may be more strategic to take a few months to get into the routine you want or accomplish what you want to get done. And lastly if you want to make changes, start now.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy 2018.