We’ve all been there! The countdown to the New Year and with it the toasts and resolutions to do things differently in the New Year. Then January is upon us and we start well, but by February, things start to slide. Come March, all motivation is gone, and those New Year Resolutions are a thing of the distant past.
So, what goes wrong? Why do we start with a bang and finish with a whimper?
Human Beings are complex creatures. Subject to whims and fancy, all motivated and ready to put in the hard yards, but when push comes to shove, oftentimes old habits die hard: these seep back in and get the better of us.
But the good news is that you can still have your cake and eat it too! You can still set some New Year’s Resolutions without having to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater and let those good intentions go to waste!
In fact, a clue to more effective behaviour change and more achievable January Resolutions lies in the very thing that trips us up in the first place! Habit!
Research has shown that breaking a habit takes at least three weeks and three months or so is often a good amount of time to rewire the brain and those habitual patterns of behaviour to effect any lasting change.
Of course, it’s an individual thing, and time frames to change vary from person to person. However, there are some fundamental changes that you can begin making today to give yourself the best chance possible to make lasting change and to help stop yourself from falling off the failed New Year resolution merry-go-round.
How to Get Off the Resolution Merry-go-round
The secret is to start small. Rather than reaching for unattainable goals that set you up for failure in the first place, why not try taking baby steps in the direction of your desired goal?
This way, motivation – you know, the thing that you lean-into to get you over the line, but the very thing that you’ve lost by February or March of the New Year – isn’t so important because the baby steps require less drive to make them happen.
Let’s take losing weight as an example. Your New Year’s Resolution might look a little something like this. You promised yourself you’d not go overboard at Christmas yet found yourself tucking into a bit more food than you wanted to. So, you feel bad. But you reassure yourself that, as the New Year approaches, you’ll go on a radical diet and make up for the overindulgence by going on a weight loss rampage and change your eating for good.
You start out well, sticking with best intentions, avoiding all the bad things, even getting up early to add some exercise to your day, but, there is always that little extra piece of something that you just can’t resist.
But because you are letting yourself down by not sticking to that resolution, you feel really bad. And because you feel bad, you figure, what the heck! You may as well have that extra slice of naughty because you can never even stick to a diet and you don’t know why you bothered to even try to do this is the first place!
Sound familiar? This is the dieting merry-go-round, but the truth is, this can be applied to anything where we set ourselves up for something where the barre is set to high. It becomes a negative downward spiral. And if at some level, our beliefs were that we could never achieve those goals anyway, because we hold self-doubt at some level, then this is a sure-fire way to prove ourselves right!
A Better Way to Make Positive Change
Thank heavens there is a better way to make change. Motivation is only part of the story, and if you feel yours doesn’t always inspire you, then the Five Steps approach is for you!
Five Steps to Positive Change this is a simple method to break negative habits by both tackling beliefs that don’t serve us while at the same time, making small behavioural changes that add up to big changes over time. It’s a way of tricking ourselves – in the best possible way – into doing things differently, which, over time, become second nature.
Here’s to a happier, healthier, more productive 2021.
To get your free copy of my 5 Steps to Positive Change, click on the link below!
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