We all know that it is much easier to make a resolution to change our behaviour than to make the change. If your enthusiasm for the resolutions you made at New Year is flagging, you’re not alone. The average New Year’s resolution falters half way through January.
For many of us, this is because other things have got in the way and we keep forgetting that we meant to eat/ drink/ exercise differently. Whether or not we can focus on our goals has a significant effect on whether we actually achieve them.
If you are struggling with achieving a goal that is important to you, the following simple steps can help enormously:
- Get clear in your mind what success will look and feel like. Imagine all the benefits you will reap from reaching your goal. Create a picture in your mind of yourself once you’ve achieved your goal and “step in” to this picture in your imagination and really enjoy the positive feelings. Spend a couple of minutes every day bringing this positive image to mind and enjoy the positive feelings associated with it.
- Be aware that to change an existing habit, you will need to bring this habit change to the front of your mind for a few weeks. Once it becomes a habit you won’t need to give it the same amount of focus, because it will have become automatic. But in the meantime it needs to be near the front of your mind. To help keep it there, create reminders in your diary or in places you’ll easily see them.
- Appreciate that there will be moments in the day when you will be faced with the choice of doing the old thing or keeping to the new resolution. At those points, turn your attention and energy to doing the new thing (eg walking away from the biscuit tin). Habit change is achieved by the sum of dozens of similar small acts.
- Every time you act in a way that helps towards your goal, give yourself credit and enjoy the feeling of achieving this small step.
If these steps prove difficult, perhaps you have set an unrealistic goal. Try making a specific goal which is half way to the overall goal and focus on that. When you get there, the original goal will be much closer and can become your new goal.