While it may be the first day of the year – this year I know it is my own Year of ‘No Resolutions’.
While this may seem contradictory to all the good advice that is out there – it is not that I am going easy on myself. Effectively, at this time of the year, everyone has to consider what is the advice that is going to work for you. So, I choose this.
In reality, however, the truth is that after having gone through several years of disappointing ‘no change’- I decidingin the long-term change was going to work better (for me) if I dropped the idea ofshort-term ‘resolutions’ and accepted that it wasn’t going to be the resolutions (or the repeated disappointment or failure I felt in February) but the long-term habits that had to change.
So, accepting that I, like almost all human beings are creatures of habit, I have set out to change and there are several things I can do to make my change effective. And if you are serious, and can really stomach the reality check that change brings (so early in January), there are things that will tip success in your favour – so here are some:
You need to actually believe you can CHANGE
This may seem so simple but is actually hard work. Often, I know us humans, we work against ourselves, we might not believe that we can change (due to our past struggles or low self-esteem) and might even sabotage ourselves. Be sure of your own belief in yourself and if even don’t really don’t feel it – don’t self-sabotage. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a chance to change. And the more you believe the better or more real it gets. Self-visualisation is useful here and famous for something.
ACCEPT it may take you over a month (or more) to change
Some studies place the length it takes to form a habit at around 21 days. But in my honest opinion, I would say it takes another month to cement this habit as normal behaviour, with a small dose of occasional relapse in there as well. Do your new habits a favour and commit to them by monitoring or planning for your success. Stick to your realistic goals and stay loyal to them. Try to avoid re-laspes into past (or bad) behaviour at the start before they become a problem. Break the patterns of behaviour that lead to the same old habits and create conscious new ones.
KNOW that change is a marathon and not a sprint
Yes – you’ve struggled to change but if you do relapse, remember every day is a new beginning! Remember that change is a marathon and positive new habits take time. Reward your tenacity and accept that it may be extremely difficult on some days. But seeing yourself in a new light means you will expect better new things to happen and getting through the hard days will mean that in the future it will be easier on you.
Develop your GRIT (or Gumption)
Similar to the top comment, your GRIT will get you through the hard bits. Imagine a totally bullet-proof vest protecting you from all the challenges of your past behaviour – this vest will empower you when things get rough. Visualise it, use it, and adopt it as a mental skill for you to use when you are struggling to stay committed to your goal.
PLAN for success
Buy a diary (I like Passion Planners), do a visual board of your goals or map out your success on sticky notes, and give yourself – short-term, medium and long-term goals to reach. And reaching a goal will be incredibly exciting – even after six months. Any goal you reach – you know you would have turned a corner.
Accept that some goals will take longer than you imagined
If it is something that you really want – it will be hard to change. Changes of habits – strong ones like smoking, weight-loss – are tied up with social situations and you will have to adapt on personal and social levels to adjust to your change. Just accept this as part of your progress and also the things that you really want will never, ever, come easy.
Regardless however, just remember that no one will tell you changing habits is easy. But dogged persistence and stubbornness and refusal to give up, will serve you well. Persist and inch-by-inch, step-by-step, you will gradually reach your goal, with the mental grit and planning needed.
This New Year – 2018 – is your year. The world is your oyster. Go for it confidently in the knowledge that with the right attitude you will indeed reach your goal. This is your year!