As we approach the January halfway point, I wonder how your new year resolutions, disciplines or goals are going? Are you making progress and celebrating your success along the way, or perhaps the novelty is beginning to wear thin and any changes are feeling hard? Have you been tempted to give up yet? If so, we want to encourage you today.
Although making changes in life sounds relatively simple in theory: ‘you stop/start doing something new’, in reality, and in practice, it is actually quite hard!
We are hard-wired to be efficient, to stay safe and to conserve energy. Making change requires a lot of willpower, risk and effort.
Making changes to any existing habits, disciplines or routines, is not easy, but here are 3 things that might help in reaching goals or adopting new disciplines or resolutions for this year.
1 - Remember your ‘why’
Ask yourself “Why did I(start/stop/fill in the blank) in the first place?”
Rarely does anyone attempt to make change lightly. It is usually only after something becomes so unbearable, or something else becomes so compelling, that we feel change is necessary.
Once we begin to make changes in the new and improved direction, the ‘unbearable’ can quickly become a distant memory, yet the ‘compelling’ still remains a long way off, despite all our efforts. It is then that it is often much easier to settle back into old routines and comfortable, safe old habits.
Going back to remind ourselves why we wanted to make any changes in the first place, can really help keep us motivated during this time, especially until the new behaviour becomes an unconscious habit.
2 - Create an environment of reminders
Once we have established our motives for change, putting meaningful reminders front and centre of our everyday activities is really important.
Things like; putting pictures of what ‘success’ might look like on our bathroom mirror to look at while teeth brushing, writing encouraging notes and sticking them on the fridge and make tally charts or scorecards to record every time we make small steps in the right direction, can all help.
Sharing our successes with others or inviting others to ask how we are getting on when we next see them can also help keep us accountable.
3 - Accept failure when it happens
Perfection is an illusion. Failure is inevitable, and never more so than if we have set ourselves the “perfect” picture of how we will change or how easy it might be.
If we chose to humble ourselves and accept that a degree of failure as a likely option, we can be intentional in exploring and creating a plan for how we will overcome those obstacles before we are faced with the potential reality.
If we aim for perfection, we don’t accept failure as an option, and it will be much harder to start (and therefore put ourselves at risk of failure) to achieve our goals in the first place, and we are more likely to give up altogether.
So this week, if you feel like giving up, please remember why you started, put reminders of that on your fridge, and when you mess up, remember that success only comes after you get up one more time than you failed!
Keep pressing on and don’t give up!
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