It’s 2020, a new year, a new decade. Many people make resolutions and commitments to change for the better. Conversations usually sound like this: “This is the year I will give up sugar (junk food, alcohol, impulse shopping)!” or “I will lose X amount of weight by summer!” or “This is the year I’ll stop spending too much time on TV (social media, video games, candy crush). Changes are made with excitement and are at a full-throttle pace. Then, within a few weeks, enthusiasm wanes, a set back unexpectedly shows up, or “life happens”. To combat this, I would like to suggest creating change in a different way, one that may have more sticking power. Here’s a list of some helpful hints to help you stick with your desire for change:
- Start with what you want! Most people get tripped up because they focus on what they have to give up, restrict, and lose. Their focus is on what is not wanted. Also, most do not like to be told what they cannot do. There’s a resistance that is felt. It compounds the feeling of Not having/being enough. Instead, I would suggest focusing on how you want to see yourself or feel at the end of the goal. For example, instead of wanting to lose 20-30 lbs, how would you look or feel if you were fit and healthy? What would it feel like to have more money in the account? What would it feel like to spend more time with the kids? Once you can see it or feel it, then make a positively stated declaration. “I am getting fit and healthy!” “I am spending more quality time with the family”. I would also strongly suggest writing on a bedroom or bathroom mirror that you use every day. Yes, these are affirmations. We are reprogramming our subconscious mind with beliefs that empower us. By using the mirror, we are telling ourselves how we want to be.
- Have realistic time frames and expectations. Set yourself up for success. Realize this is a journey that has various ups and downs, periods of excitement and lack-luster motivation. You are looking at the long game. Ideally, we set a New Years’ goal that goes beyond the year, something that will last our whole life. It is within the current year where we lay down the foundation for life-long habits.
- Set up small goals that act as stepping stones to your main goal. By making each of the small goals achievable, it builds confidence and momentum. This is well suited for the all-or-nothing type of person or the gradual transition type of person. If one’s goal is to eat healthier, an all-or-nothing type can decide on the eating style they want and make the first goal as being compliant with the diet for two weeks. The gradual transition type could add more vegetables for two weeks. Eventually, all of the small goals add up to a whole lifestyle change.
- The last strategy is to enroll others into joining your lifestyle changes or joining an already established group. It is so much easier to make changes when we have the support of others and it is empowering when you provide support. You do not have to go at it alone. Luckily, we live in a time where we can connect with people all over the world that can help us.
To summarize- create a plan, mentally prepare, gather support and start. Remember these words,” Be, Do, Have”. In your mind, BE the person you want to become. This is where the affirmations come in. Use the phrase, “If I am X, would I do Y?”. For example, “If I am fit and healthy, would I eat that donut?”. Take action! Just start. You don’t have to wait for the 1st of the month, for the stars to be aligned, for your significant other to change. Then reap what you sow. After some time, it could be weeks or months, reflect on how far you have come and the change in who you are. You may still have some work to do but the foundation of good habits has been laid down. Pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward. Making a long-lasting positive change may seem difficult but with a different approach, it can be done easily.