Every year we set ourselves some target of changing our life.
This year I’m going to lose 3 stone in weight. I'm going to give up chocolate. I'm going to exercise every day. I’m going to be healthier etc, etc. We may start off enthusiastic and do well to start with. However, this doesn’t last, and before we know it, we are back to the same habits and the same routines. Only now, we feel worse about ourselves than we did when we started.
Although it’s good to re-evaluate and change certain things in your life, it’s not good if we set ourselves up to fail. This can have a detrimental effect on us mentally and cause more issues. So what can we do about it? How can we make changes and make New Year's resolutions that we can stick to?
The problem is we are often very vague when we make these resolutions, or we set the goal too high to start with. Example: I want to give up chocolate and lose 2 Stone in 8 weeks. Now, you've set yourself up to fail because giving up chocolate alone is not going to help you lose weight, and what happens if you don’t hit that target on the date you say? You just give up and go back to old habits.
So how do you make a New Year's resolution and stick to it?
Take it away…
For starters, take away the words: New Year's resolution. After all, those words just add pressure to stick to something that for some unknown reason societies say that this is the time we need to make changes. Perhaps it’s just another way of getting you to spend some cash on new fad diets, gym equipment, or even some new marketing concepts to grow your business. Whatever the reason, it’s an open invitation to Fail.
What and Why?
When you decide to make changes in your life, be clear about what they are. Write down the goal and the reason for that goal.
If it’s losing weight, why do you want to lose weight? Write down the benefits of that. If it’s making money, write down the reasons why you want to make more money and the benefits from doing that. Having clear goals and reasons will help you to achieve them.
When you have clearly identified the changes you want in your life and the reasons why you want them, now consider what small steps you can take to make the changes. Now this may take a little time and some thinking about the smallest of steps you can take. Example: you may want to lose weight, so you could start by planning out your meals for the week then buy only what is needed. Now this step is not going to make you lose weight, but it’s going to put you on the path to losing weight.
Try to remove any unnecessary stresses in your life. For example: you might want to earn more money by taking on more clients, but instead of doing marketing or research into getting more new clients, you keep putting it off because something as silly as your desk is untidy, and you waste time looking for bits and pieces and not having that extra time to do that bit of research.
What will change tomorrow?
Now imagine you went to bed this evening and you woke up tomorrow, and one small thing had changed in your life. Every day, ask yourself what’s the one thing that can be different? “What could I change?” You will make little changes in your life that will end up making your bigger goals a reality.
We often become completely obsessed with the New Year's resolution trying to achieve it. You need to relax and just let it happen naturally. Little changes to your habits will get you to where you want to go.
Habits are formed by repetition. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you are learning a new instrument or a new hobby, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and each day you get a little bit better.
It’s the same with changing habits. It can take anything from 18 to 254 days for a person to create a new habit, and on average, it takes 66 days according to research. That's just for one habit. When you take this into consideration, it's no wonder why most people fail with New Year's resolutions by the first week in February.
Setting deadlines to achieve life-changing habits, often works against you because it creates frustration and anger if not achieved.
To understand this concept, we only have to look at the government setting their targets for vaccinating everyone against Coronavirus. The more we set yourself a unrealistic, deadline the chances are, the more anxious and more frustrated we become.
This means taking time for self-care is crucial. I don’t mean spoiling yourself with new clothing, perfume, that new set of golf clubs, and stuff like that. I’m talking about the self-care of sleep, in particular the REM sleep pattern and guided meditation, which will also replicate the rapid eye movement sleep pattern of REM. By giving yourself the self-care of REM, which is only 20% of your sleep pattern, you will allow your mind to focus on the positives as being in this state, is when we work out all the emotional turmoil within. By doing these things, you’ll find that you will increase your chances of changing the habits that you want to change.
Every time you commit to a small goal, you are more likely to achieve it, and it will leave you feeling happier and more motivated, ready to move on to the next small step. Before you know it, you will have succeeded in achieving your goals and gaining the benefits you wanted and often more benefits than you could’ve even imagined.