2017 is around the corner and it’s time to throw the hammer down on New Year’s resolutions. Truthfully the odds any of us will make successful changes are slim.
I mean really, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided that TOMORROW I’m going to start to eat more veggies, stop eating sugar, take a daily 60 minute walk, drink more water, get more sleep and take vitamins.
And tomorrow comes and I do pretty well until lunchtime, when my resolves crumbles and last night’s ideas are out the window and I’ve eaten a Toblerone bar, the big one.
Welcome to the human race.
So what’s the problem? After all, it’s not that hard to eat more veggies, stop drinking soda, take a 20 minute walk, drink more water, get more sleep, take vitamins.
But what is hard is doing all of those things at once.
Our self-control or willpower just can’t deal with all of these changes at once.
Willpower can be compared to a muscle that becomes fatigued with overuse. Every day we are called upon to demonstrate self-control in many different situations and the fatigue effect is cumulative. For example, we limit our time surfing on facebook, we hold our tongue with co-workers, bosses or clients who make us frustrated or angry, we forgo pizza at the company lunch and reach for our homemade salad instead. You get the idea.
The willpower muscle runs out of juice.
And the only way to strengthen our will power, our self control is to have a reasonable plan and stick to it.
And that’s what today’s post is about. Making changes that stick.
The Four Components to Making Lasting Changes In Your Life.
First, change only ONE thing at a time.
Pick something you would like to change. For example, you might decide you want to start a regular walking program.
Second, make the change you want to see specific and measurable.
For instance, you might plan to walk 20 minutes a day at lunchtime, 5 days a week.
Third, be certain about your ability to follow through.
This is super important!
You must be really honest with yourself at this stage of the plan.
Ask yourself, “How sure am I on a scale of 0-10 that I can stick to this plan?”
If the answer isn’t a 9 or a 10, make the plan easier until it IS a 9 or 10. So, maybe instead of walking 20 minutes a day, walk 10 minutes a day.
Fourth, be accountable for your progress.
Find someone who you can report to EVERY day. Someone who understands what you are trying to do and who won’t let you off the hook. You can call, email or text. But report every single day.
And keep a log of some kind. Put it on the refrigerator or in your calendar to mark off daily.
Most new changes can be made in 14 days, but if you need longer, take longer. You need to feel confident that your new habit is solid before taking on a new challenge!
You can do this, and so can I!
Change is never easy, but it is possible. So let’s give ourselves a head start in 2016.