How To Follow Through With New Years Resolutions
There is something so inspiring and motivating about a fresh new start. A new school year, a new job, a new home, a new year…These things all bring such promise. For many of us, resolving to make a change at the beginning of a new year is irresistible. But somehow that resolve fades as the weeks pass by and the new change seems in fact, quite resistible.
So how can we set ourselves up for success and make the positive changes we want to see in our lives into reality?
Be clear about the actual goal
“Get healthier” is not a clear goal. “Drink more water” or “take daily supplements” are tasks the brain can actually focus on. If you want to make real and lasting change, make sure you know what you’re really aiming to achieve.
Make it really easy
Growing all your own food, hitting the gym 5 days a week, and writing a book by February could all be great goals, but they each require a massive amount of time and mental energy if you aren’t already actively working on them.
If your goal is to grow more of your own food, maybe you start with planting and caring for one potted parsley plant. Or if you want to be more active, maybe you commit to joining your friend every Monday after work when she already goes to the gym. Choose something easy to start with so you set yourself up for success that can be built upon it once that new habit is established.
In our fast-paced world, regular blocks of unscheduled time don’t generally show up in our day. And if they do, we often use them for mindless things like scrolling Instagram or watching Netflix. If you really want to make a life change, determine when you are going to practice your new habit and write it on your calendar.
Let’s say you want a cleaner house. An easy habit to start with may be to vacuum your bedroom every Saturday morning. Putting it on your calendar every week makes it more likely to happen.
Neuroscientists tell us that our brains naturally focus on the negative. We have to work at noticing good things in our lives. If you successfully practice your habit 3 out of 4 weeks, celebrate the 3 times you pulled it off instead of berating yourself for the one week you missed. You will be more likely to carry on when you recognize how well you’re doing, rather than the ways you’ve missed the mark.
So, Happy New Year to you and cheers to baby steps forward!