We are just a few days away from the New Year. During this time of year, many people reflect on the year that has passed and vow to make major life changes in the upcoming year such as getting fit, eating healthier, saving more money, keeping in touch with loved ones, so on and so forth. While these are all wonderful and important goals, the bottom line is, many will start off strong only to revert back to old habits by February 1st. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips on how to make some life changes without making them a New Years Resolution.
- Don’t wait until January 1. Many people like to clean slate it because they want to make a fresh start so they will wait until a major date like January 1st to make major changes. Now (or any time) is a good time to start. By taking baby steps you will take the frenzy and pressure out of starting a new habit the first of the year. It also will give you a feeling of accomplishment and power/control knowing that you didn’t wait for a particular date to make a change. Start at any time.
- Realize it takes time to create new habits. At the beginning of the year, many people make rigid plans to go cold turkey with stopping or starting a new habit: Stop smoking. Start saving. Bring lunch to work. Stop eating meat. Get fit. However these rigid plans can quickly lead to feeling defeated. Remember, this is a process of breaking an old habit as you create the habit a new habit. For instance, if you want to stop eating meat, commit eating meatless 3 days out of the week. When you get used to that, add that 4th day. By realizing this is a journey and that it takes time, you will be more likely to be gentle with yourself whenever you hit a roadblock.
- Have a plan in place. Your plan is your road map to success. This will help guide you in the direction you want to go in.
- Don’t depend on inspiration or motivation. These two feeling usually won’t show up for your 4am workout. There will be days when you just won’t feel like doing what it is you need to. This is when you have to remember the commitment you have made to yourself. It takes more than good intention to stick with a new habit.
- Write it down. Keep a journal to track your progress and how you are feeling about the goal you have set for yourself. It will be a wonderful reminder of where you have come from and motivation for where you are going.
- Have an accountability partner. Your accountability partner should be someone who has the same/similar goals AND the same level of commitment as you do. This is important because unless you are self-motivated, an accountability partner will be able to share in your triumphs and opportunities as well as encourage you to keep going when you feel like giving up.