I believe New Year’s resolutions are a rather empty, guilty acknowledgement that things should change. After the excesses of the festive seasons and the realisation that all those grand schemes for the year have not materialised, we seem to shrug off the disappointment by promising ourselves that this year we will be better. Some of us manage to do it for a few days or even weeks, but by the middle of January we are back into the old routine and the resolutions are long forgotten by the end of the month.
Instead of making resolutions I prefer to give the urge for change and cleaning up my act a little more attention. Here are my steps to making a lasting change:
- Acknowledge where you are – what is the source of your guilt, frustration or need to make a change? What has brought you to this point and what choices created this situation? I don’t just acknowledge that I ate too many mince pies, I also think about how I feel now that they are permanently attached to my hips and the effort it is going to take to get rid of them.
- Visualise where you want to be – what would a day or a week in your life look like once you make that change? Is that picture inspiring? Does it immediately create reasons to go back to your old ways? If I am thinking of giving something up and I immediately visualise situations where I know I’ll break my promise, I know its time to reframe how I think about it. What are the good things I want from this change and how will they outweigh the benefits of not giving into temptation.
- Preparation – each new habit or change in behaviour requires some planning. If I’m going to eat more healthily it requires some menu plans, shopping for fresh healthy food and removing the left over Christmas cake and chocolates from the cupboard.
- Commitment – having an accountability partner helps keep you on track. Someone you can give updates of your progress to and who will hold you accountable when you are starting to slip. This needs to be someone who can remind you of your goals with love and kindness. I often think that its not so much the fact that I cheated that’s important, but rather why I did and having someone to help me unravel that before I do it again.
- Little steps – set small goals and challenges and as you tick them off it makes the big vision so much closer and more real.
- Hold the course – most people are adverse to change and the changes you are making sometimes have surprising affects on those around you. Holding onto your vision and your commitments when others seem to want to sabotage your efforts takes courage and fortitude. Have someone you can rely on to support you when everyone else seems to prefer the old you.
- Keep a record – plot your course, write a journal, keep a weigh in or exercise diary; whatever helps you look back and see how far you have come, how you felt through the process and can also help you keep growing the vision.
- Celebrate – celebrate the little victories in new and exciting ways and collect little mementoes to remind you of all that you have achieved.
If this seems like something that you would like to try and you need a partner to help you build the plan and stay on the course, consider hiring a life coach.
Do a Vision 2018 workshop to set your goals for the year ahead or join one of my three month individual coaching packages to help you make lasting changes and shifts in your life or contact one of the other Collective Coaches to see how they do it.