If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution and abandoned it a few weeks later, you know how reluctant human beings are to change. Our habits are something we can count on and they give us a routine, a sense of predictability. Attempting to break a bad habit or acquire a new one –even if it’s for the better – can make us feel very uncomfortable and lead us back to the familiar. Let’s see what we can do to help make positive changes lasting changes.
1. Be realistic. Break your goals into small, manageable steps.
2. Be persistent. Think long range about the time it will take to replace your new lifestyle with the one you’ve had for the past ten years. It’s going to take more than a few weeks and more than one effort or approach.
3. Be specific. Saying “I want to take better care of myself” is too vague to know what you’re going to do or how you’re going to do it. But by saying “I will take 20 minutes each day to walk or do yoga”, you’ll be able to gauge if you’re making progress.
4. Be forgiving. Know that in any change process, setbacks are bound to occur. If you break your diet or have a cigarette; this is not a failure. Progress is picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and continuing your efforts.
5. Be proud. You don’t have to meet your total goal to celebrate. Incremental accomplishments will lead to your ultimate success – so go ahead and tell a friend, post your progress chart on the wall, or give your self a reward.