Sick of making resolutions, only to break them days later? Discover how to make life changes that actually stick!
Every New Year, we’re expected to make a big life-changing commitment at the start of January and end up feeling disappointed if we don’t land the perfect job or manage to quit a bad habit. Despite best intentions, the fact is that resolutions very often fail. Why is this? Often, it’s because setting life goals needs to happen when you’re absolutely determined and motivated to make it work. This rarely falls in step with a dreary cold January morning when all you want to do is curl up warm and enjoy the last of the festive holiday. This is why our first tip in making changes that stick is TIMING.
- TIME TO CHANGE
You have to be fully ready and focused on your goal before you can make a success of it. Monday is a popular day to choose to launch your big life change, but is it the right day for you? If school or work is usually hectic at the start of the week or you’re feeling tired after the weekend, then Monday is going to be a drag as it is so why add extra stress to an already busy day? Choose your ‘start day’ wisely and take time to plan what steps you can take to stick to your goals.
- SOFTLY, SOFTLY
Start gently. If running a 5k is your end goal, for example, start by going out for a brisk walk. Take each day as it comes and focus on moving closer and closer to your goal. Launching yourself into it or attempting to go all in before you’re ready can lead to failure and this can negatively impact your mental health and motivation, leading you to throw in the towel. Remember the story of the hare and the tortoise – slow and steady wins the race.
- BE REALISTIC
The key to successful life changes is setting reasonable and realistic goals. Think about what it is you want to achieve. Consider these points:
- Is this achievable?
- Have I got the resources I need?
- Have I given myself enough time?
Many of us set goals without properly thinking them through. This can lead to you feeling dispirited and low when things don’t quite work out in the way you thought they would. By setting a realistic plan from the start, you’re more likely to meet your goals and avoid feelings of disappointment. You may have to adjust your expectations as you go along and that’s OK. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the situation changes, and life throws a curveball. When this happens, it can make you feel like giving up because your goal feels further out of reach than ever before. Take a moment to reassess the situation, change up your plan, and go for it!
- KNOW YOUR REASONS, KNOW YOUR OBSTACLES
Why are you making this change? What do you hope to achieve by making this change? What difficulties do you foresee? How will you overcome these challenges? Keeping your goal and the potential challenges you might face clear in your mind will make it easier to keep heading down the right path. This clarity can also help you deal with anything that might derail you from your journey – when you know of tricky situations that lie ahead, you can plan ways to overcome them.
- REASSESS AND REROUTE
Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, we stray from the path. When this happens, it can make you feel like giving up because your goal feels further out of reach than ever before. Stop and think about the things that got in the way of you achieving your goal and consider other ways to get where you want to be – this could involve asking a friend to help you, seeking help from your doctor, or joining a support group to keep you motivated and accountable.