New Years resolutions – just the thought of it might make you turn and run!
And for good reason. We start out the year so full of hope, with such good intentions, only to be disappointed yet again.
I get it.
Resolutions are out of fashion. And it certainly doesn’t have to happen on January 1st …but I think the power in resolutions (or the term I prefer “goals”) comes in the process of reflecting on our lives: where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’d like to go. I think this is time well spent.
Think about the past year, what you were happy about, and maybe not so happy about.
Journal about it…putting pen to paper (I know…so old fashioned!) can be powerful.
Congratulate yourself for the changes you’ve made, think about why some of the things you wanted to do didn’t happen, and decide what you want to focus on this year.
Taking some time, on a periodic basis, is a great way to course correct as we go, and get closer to the life you ultimately want.
Let’s look at the typical resolution, and why they may fail.
Resolution…I want to lose 20 pounds by this time next year (sound familiar to anyone?)
What could possibly go wrong?!
A) The time frame: WAY TOO LONG. How many of us can consistently, through determination and will power, really focus on anything for an entire year? Very few! This is almost doomed to failure from the start.
B) HOW? Sounds great to theoretically lose 20 pounds (if done in a healthy way…), but how will the magically happen? What’s the plan?
What may be a better approach?
A) Shorter time frame: Instead of a new YEAR goal, 365 days, start with a shorter time frame, like a month, 30 days. Way more doable. And interestingly, about the length of time that most researchers suggest is required to start to form a new HABIT.
B) Make it a Habit: As opposed to setting a goal, an objective like losing 20 pounds in 2018, a better approach might be to decide on 1 or 2 habits that you could start, that if you maintained and continued them over a long period of time, would ultimately result in the goal you want.
Start out with something really easy…so easy that you can do it no problem, practically in your sleep!
Maybe walking for an extra 5 minutes per day, or taking the stairs any time possible, or drinking 2 glasses of water in the morning, or whatever will start you towards the goal you want, but won’t be a stretch.
Doesn’t this sound easier than saying you’re going to go to the gym 3 times a week for an hour, when you haven’t exercised consistently for over 20 years? You can get there, but just like running a marathon, start with one step first, then another, and build your way up.
And the bonus is, after you’ve done something simple for 5 or 10 or 20 straight days, you’ll feel great about yourself! What a novel idea, NOT feeling like a failure to start out the year!
As you start to form your new habits, your simple activity becomes AUTOMATIC, without you thinking, which is key. The more healthy habits you add to your routine, as automatic as brushing your teeth, the better and easier your life becomes.
And this is how all amazing results are achieved…one little step taken, day after day, over months and years. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve!
Here are a few of the simple habits I have for my morning routine, just to give you some ideas.
As soon as I get out of bed, I drink 2 glasses of water (1 minute), morning balance exercises (while brushing teeth and shaving, approx. 4 minutes), and take omega 3 and vitamin D (1 minute). None of this takes a long time, but done day after day, consistently, will help me to have the kind of year and life I want.
A tip for this. Set yourself up for success. Make starting a new habit as EASY as possible. I do my balance exercise (standing on one foot, for 2 minutes, then switching) WHILE I brush my teeth and shave. I’m standing there anyways, might as well kill two birds with one stone.
For my water, I fill up my glass the night before, and leave it on the kitchen counter. I then grab my Vitamin D and Omega 3, take both, then drink the entire large glass. Done!
All of this might sound trivial, but it’s not. Making it as easy as possible, and as automatic as possible, is how these actions eventually become mindless habits, just ‘what you do’, which is what you want!
What are one or two simple, super easy habits you could start with?
If you feel motivated to share, please do, we’d love to hear them!
Here’s to new habits and a new and improved you for 2018!