IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Another New Year arrives and presents the perfect opportunity to start over or change old habits. The Day of The New Year Resolution is upon us. Again.
It’s a clean start – out with the old and in with the new. So, how are you doing? Sadly, of all the millions of New Year Resolutions made, over 70% are broken by the end of January, and by the end of the year only 9% felt they had succeeded.
The top two New Year Resolutions for 2017
There’s no surprises in the choice of the top two:
Number 1: Lose Weight / Healthier Eating
Number 2: Life / Self Improvements
And it’s no surprise that they are the two hardest to achieve with an over 90% failure rate.
All good intention – but no results. No success.
Oh glum 🙁
It’s hard to succeed
Think back 20 years. Did you make a New Year Resolution to put ON more weight and EAT MORE red meat? Of course you didn’t. But the chances are it happened. And why? Because our behaviour, both good and bad, is based on HABITS. This is human nature. Our brains see habits as neurons connecting together to affect our behaviour. The neurons form a well rutted road that we comfortably travel along. Habits build up over time, often years, and changing them is hard. It’s not easy. But it can be done. And remember that change is a process.
It’s time to swell the ranks of the successful 9%
Let’s think about our brain’s neurons. Without us really knowing they have crept up on us and formed our habits. Brush your teeth each night? Yep – that’s a well rutted neuropathway. We need to create new habits and drop the old. We need to think differently – to change our mindset. But remember, it’s taken years to develop your extra weight and unhealthy lifestyle (if that’s what you’re trying to change!).
Let’s start with our Mindset
We’re going to rewire our neurons along a new pathway that will become the new well trodden route to a new you. Start with your story. You know who you are, now form the idea of who you want to be. Identify what’s important to you, identify your purpose in wanting to change your behaviour. Write it down. It could be…
“My New Year Resolution purpose is to lose weight”.
Next link a benefit to your purpose. For example: “I will lose weight because I want to see my grand children grow up and be there for them”. Write that down too and place it where you can see it every day. (Post-It notes work for me!)
Linking your purpose to a benefit helps you visualise the effect of your New Year Resolution.
What you are doing is changing your self-story – your life-story. This is the best and proven way to get new habits, Habits that will enable big and long term behaviour change.
Let’s be Specific
Having a beneficial purpose is the first step in habit change. Look again at the two most popular Resolutions…
- Lose Weight / Healthier Eating
- Life / Self Improvements
Now be specific and pick just one.
“Lose Weight” for example. Be even more specific and put a number on it. Say 10 pounds. By when? 10 pounds in 3 months.
This is a small achievable step. It’s not so much the size of the change that matters, what is important is recognising that this step is a lifestyle change bringing you one step nearer your goal – your beneficial purpose.
Next, pick a small action that will allow your small achievable step to help form a new habit. For weight loss this could be cutting out all food with refined sugar in it (tip: read the labels!). For exercise it could be walking an extra 5,000 steps a day (use a mobile phone app to monitor). Whatever that small action is, make it your first step to a new habit. Make it easy to do and easy to monitor.
Constantly remind yourself of why you are doing this.
Build on the small achievable steps
Progress will be slow but sure. Keep adding small goals and work towards them. It took years for weight adding habits to form but small changes in your mindset and lifestyle will produce the changes that you envision. Not in a “crash diet” short term sort of way, but in a long term, more satisfying, more lasting, lifestyle change sort of way.
Whatever your New Year Resolutions, think hard about making them happen and why you want them to come true. Build on your small successes. Reward yourself (a new smaller dress / pair of jeans). And most importantly, remind yourself of your purpose and the benefits. Every day.
Get in touch
We’d love to hear about your small successes and your set-backs. If you’d like to share, drop us an email and tell us how you are getting on.
Happy New Year and every good wish for a happy, healthy 2017!