“ We are what we repeatedly do. Success isn’t an action but a habit.” - Aristotle
You can use this article as a personal coaching session. It will help you gain insights and look at your new year resolutions from a different perspective.
Every new year is a clean slate with another new 365 opportunities. We all know the pleasure of looking back at the previous year and creating a list of things we want to achieve or change in the upcoming year. Usually, those are health, fitness, relationship, self-development and career-related goals. Once you have them listed, it all looks so inspiring and motivating that you can’t wait to start bringing all those things to life.
It often happens that your motivation can keep you going until February or March before you slip back into your old way of living. You start losing motivation for your goals and eventually, you quit. For some of us, most of those resolutions and aspirations stay on paper.
Why does this happen? You know that you want those things and they will change your life.
There seems to be some power that makes sure you stick to your old track, no matter whether you enjoy that way of living or not. It can be stronger than your desire to change because this is your habit of living.
Do you really need that change?
Very often it’s not clear enough whether our resolutions are what we really need to have a better and more fulfilling life.
There’s a way to get more clarity. I want you to ask yourself the following questions. They will help you understand if you really need the change you want to have in your life:
How will my life look and how will I feel if I make the change?
How will my life look and how will I feel if I DON’T make the change?
What am I saying YES and NO to if I keep my old habit?
What am I saying YES and NO to if I create the new habit?
New habits = new you
You wouldn’t like to lose great opportunities to old autopilot habits of yours, would you? A human being is a creature of habit. You can use this to benefit yourself instead of limiting. So why not to replace the habits that don’t serve us with better ones?
New behaviours, thoughts and emotions can’t appear in your life while you are on your old track. It will require your focus and attention to change the track and stick to it. The more you practice it the more it will be becoming your new habitual life.
“What gets scheduled is what gets done.” - Robin Sharma
Now that you know that bringing your resolutions to life is a matter of creating new habits let’s move on to the next key part which is creating the basis for your habit.
For a start, you need a clear plan with steps. For example, your resolution is to exercise more. It lacks clarity which doesn’t make it tangible enough. You can ask yourself more questions to give your resolution more shape:
What kind of exercise am I going to do?
How often and when am I going to do my exercise?
What results do I want to achieve from doing exercise?
How will I understand that I’m achieving the results I want?
Transformation is as much about unlearning as it is about change.
Sometimes you not only need to acquire new habits but to unlearn old ones that are holding you back. Those can be anything from getting up late, procrastinating when something seems to be hard and comfort eating to not being able to say NO when you need to.
How to unlearn bad habits that don’t serve you and even harm you?
Step 1: Identify what triggers your bad habit.
Step 2: Think of a habit to replace it and come up with the way you will be acting.
For example: start getting up earlier and make sure to take measures to prevent going back to bed, count down 1-5 when tempted to procrastinate and start doing the thing, journal or talk to someone instead of resorting to eating.
Step 3: Practice new behaviour until it becomes a habit. Make sure you schedule it.
I was listening to an interview with Les Brown the other day and the following words struck me: “ Most people won’t participate in their own rescue.” Very often we stay passive and don’t take any actions although we know it's only us who can change our lives.
It’s totally in your power to have a breakthrough this year once you start approaching things differently and take full responsibility for your life.
Please remember, the reason why you have your dreams is that you have what it takes to make it real.
P.S. What are you ready to do for your change today?