The New Year often brings a special focus to the things in our lives we want to change or enhance. There is, of course, nothing stopping us making those changes at any time of year, but December 31st sees many of us making New Year resolutions. Anything from losing weight, stopping smoking or other major life changes like finding a new career, or starting a relationship.
However, a few weeks on we can often see many of those good intentions lying by the wayside, finding us back where we were, with the added disappointment of having tried and not achieved what we wanted. Here are some thoughts, tips and ideas for bringing more permanent change into your life at whatever time of year.
Remember the old joke about “Don’t see a purple elephant with pink spots”? As you read that line I expect that many of you will have had to create an image in your mind of a purple elephant with pink spots, to then realise that you were asked not to see it. Well in putting together your resolution or goal the same principle applies. Positive language is important in goal setting because by saying “Stop getting stressed ” or “Lose weight” we are focused on the behaviour we want to change rather than the change itself. So “Take time to relax three times a week by listening to music” or “Be a specific weight or clothes size by the summer” might sound a bit clunky, but because they are resolutions that are positive they have a greater chance of success. You might find it helpful to write down your goals and resolutions and remind yourself of them every day.
Be realistic, safe and achievable.
Give yourself a time scale that you want to achieve your resolution or goal by and make sure that you account for every change that you achieve. So often we are only satisfied with the big goals, accounting and noticing each positive movement can be fantastic for our motivation and commitment. Be sure it is safe for you by thinking if someone like you has ever done this before. Setting yourself a major life changing resolution? Break it down into smaller steps so, as you meet each one, you get a sense of achievement.
Talk to your friends and supporters. Get them involved, especially if it is a tough or long term goal that you want to achieve. Tell people exactly how you want them to support you. It may be that you want to be able to call them to celebrate a success or to talk when it gets particularly difficult. You may not need advice, just someone to be there.
See yourself achieving.
Take time to imagine what it will be like for you when you have achieved this goal. Create a strong visual image of how you will feel when you have achieved this change by seeing yourself doing it. you can do this by hearing the sounds around you and what will others be saying to you when you achieved this resolution. Use all of your five senses in creating the image, and think how will others will see you behaving.
Plan to succeed.
Think about how you might stop yourself achieving what you want. Put things in place to make sure this does not happen. Then, when you have done that, think again about how else you might stop yourself! Plan for that as well. And remember, if your resolution slips one day, it is only one day and tomorrow you can be back focussed on your goal. Be kind to yourself if this happens, making changes in our lives takes effort and focus and sometimes is not easy.
Plan mini celebrations along the way as milestones in your success, they don’t have to be big or expensive, but something meaningful and enjoyable for you. And of course, a big celebration on finally achieving your goal.
So, for lots of people New Year is one of the times when we review our lives, question if we are getting what we want from life and if there are things to change or do differently. It is possible to make these kinds of changes at any time in your life, not just on December 31st.
Have you made a personal change you are proud or satisfied with? What was your route to success?