On New Year’s Day, people all over the world resolve to make changes in their lives. But YOU don’t have to wait until January 1st to start creating change in your life.
You can do it today.
And instead of losing steam about two weeks into the process, I want you to be able to make lasting change in your life. Failing to make change generally isn’t about your goals being too hard or that you don’t have enough willpower to stick to them, it’s that you aren’t quite prepared to make those changes.
Most people aren’t prepared to make changes. Even though they want to. Even though they swear this time is going to be different.
At any given time, only about 20% of people are truly prepared to take action towards changing. In fact, successful “changers” are the ones who have failed several times before. The willingness to keep trying — or persistence — is a common trait of successful people.
So, how do you prepare yourself to make change?
- Knowing is half the battle. You have to be aware of the fact that you have a “problem” before you can go about changing it. Might sound obvious, but it’s easier to see problems in others than in our own lives.
- Think it over. Change doesn’t happen with the twitch of a nose or the click of a heel (wouldn’t that be nice). It happens with careful planning and setting the intention to do so. Think about what you want to change in your life, and ways to go about doing that.
- Get your ducks in a row. Put a plan in place. Get specific about the exact changes you want to make. Set goals, and then break them down even further until you are able to see what is necessary to get where you want to go. And then? Start talking to people about what you want to do because they may have ideas on how to either break things down even further or help you have a more complete understanding of what it will take to make the kind of changes you’re wanting to make.
- Just do it. Time to put your plan into action. It generally takes about 45 days to change a habit, so don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than expected.
- Maintain it. Maintenance is the act of living with your change and practicing that new behavior day after day. This is often the point where people give up, revert to old behaviors or decide that it’s just too hard to keep up with.
- Stay Aware. Your old behavior will continue to tempt you for a while. Remember: one cupcake does not mean that you have failed at eating healthy. Just keep calm, and carry on.
The path to change is individual and can be filled with potholes and detours along the way. Reaching out for help, through friends and family or a coach, makes you four times more likely to succeed than going it alone.
Whatever your goals, treat yourself with loving kindness, reward your victories, and comfort yourself when you have setbacks.