We’re at that moment in time when we think “New year, new beginning” and start making plans for the next 12 months ahead. Obviously, this comes with a lot of excitement, but also a lot of frustration for not being able to accomplish the goals in the past.
This is great to get you started and have the motivation to change or improve what you want to change or improve. Planning is essential to envisage the steps you will need to take to reach the outcome you desire. There is no doubt about it.
But, what is even more important for this process of improvement, is the consistency you put in repeating the actions or the behaviours which will lead you to your goal. It means loving your routine and not seeing it as a short period of sacrifice or changed behaviour. Otherwise, you’ll have the same goals, year after year, because you didn’t sustain your actions long enough to be part of your life. And this is frustrating.
For example, many ladies I know start a diet around this time and make plans to go to the gym to get back in shape. Still, after some time, the determination and motivation fade away and they go back to the old routine and behaviours. Why? Because this activity is seen as a one-time activity to address the effect (putting on weight) rather than the cause (what was the trigger for that).
So, to really make a change in your life, repetition is the key to embed a new habit in your daily routine.
To improve your habits for long term you should change your mindset first.
Instead of deciding to lose weight, for example, you can think about it as changing your diet and life style to be a healthier person in the future.
The actions will be the same, but the goal is no longer limited by a specific moment in time, rather a continuous behaviour going forward. Consistency of habits will ensure the process is continuous; not something you force yourself to do, but something that is part of your identity (a person with healthy life choices).
This is just an example, but the process can be applied to any goals you may have:
Define the changes you want to make holistically for your future self (I want to have healthier habits to improve my wellbeing)
Identify the steps to get that embedded in your life (I will run in the park every Saturday and Sunday; I will eat only veggies for dinner 4 days a week, etc.)
Plan the activities ahead so they are already part of your daily schedule
Do the doing
…and then do the doing again
Consistency of actions. There will be moments when you slip. And that’s ok. No one is perfect. The point is to keep repeating the good habits. Until it becomes a part of how you define your routine.
Take care of yourself,