How to make your resolutions stick January 8, 2018 – Posted in: Advice – Tags: advice, change, choose, decide, fresh start, future, goals, new year, practice, resolutions
Usually, at this time of the year, I write about how it is better to set goals rather than make resolutions because resolutions usually involve giving something up (which makes us automatically want to do that thing more!) whereas goals are positive things we can work towards (which the brain finds easier to digest). But, this year I thought I’d take a slightly different approach because, let’s face it, the pressure is on us all to make resolutions whether we believe in them or not! This, therefore, is a blog about both resolutions and goals; it’s about how to change and how to make that change stick…
It all starts with a thought
January is an amazing time of renewal and fresh starts as a new year begins and we consider our plans for the 12 months ahead. It’s a great time to take stock and ensure we are living up to the values we hold. Envisioning your future is the first step towards making that future a reality. Imagining what you want, believing you can give it a go and talking it into life are the first three steps towards change. Everything starts with a thought so you must spend a bit of time thinking about what you want. Don’t get bogged down in the ‘how’ yet – this is the ‘what’ stage… what do you want to feel, achieve, do? Stay in ‘what’ for as long as it takes for the spark of belief to ignite.
What needs to go?
January is also an amazing time to consider what we don’t want as well as what we do. In fact, if you want to introduce something new into your life you will likely have to make space by getting rid of something old, so considering what existing habits/patterns/beliefs need to go in order to make way for your new habits/patterns/beliefs is a great way to start on the road to success with your resolutions and goals. As you move into ‘how’ you will make your change, you must consider what needs to go and often what needs to go is an old behaviour…
If you take nothing else away from this blog take this; Change is built when we practice the opposite behaviour of the one we are trying to overcome. So…
– If you want to be less angry you must practice the opposite behaviour (acceptance/peace/calm/understanding – whatever most resonates with you).
– If you want to be fit you must let go of sloth and practice its opposite i.e. exercise.
– If you want to stop worrying you must practice trust and faith in the moment.
– If you want to learn a new skill you must give up your Wednesday evening in front of the TV and get to night school
– If you want to go on that magical holiday you might have to give up lattes and meals out for a while to save up.
Practice, practice, practice
The last step to permanent change is practice. Small steps taken every day towards your goal means you will get there because small steps build over time. An elephant is eaten one bite at a time just as a mountain is climbed one step at a time and a child is grown one meal at a time. Each day you practice your new thoughts/habits/behaviours is a day in the right direction.
Ask any recovering addict what it’s taken to change their life and achieve sobriety and they will tell you that they had to decide they wanted something different. They then had to choose the opposite to addiction; sobriety. They then had to continue to practice their sobriety on a daily basis (following whatever recovery programme works for them).
So, if you’ve made resolutions for 2018 and you’re struggling to make them stick, consider the above before you quit.