Raise the subject of new year’s resolutions in January, and you’re likely to get some mixed reactions – from guilty admissions of falling off the wagon, or finding the prospect too daunting to even try. So how can we tackle making life changes that stick, new year or not? Fortunately, there are some ways we can make getting off the starting blocks easier.
One step at a time
First of all, there’s the bite-size approach, where the elements of a goal are broken down into manageable chunks. Let’s take the example of writing a book. Once you’ve defined the subject or storyline, how will you fill those empty pages? A sensible approach would be to break it down into chapters. Maybe then you might outline each chapter structure. Perhaps then you’d work out how many words a day you can realistically get down. Of course you need to take your other commitments into account. And you might have to sacrifice something else to make time – watch less TV perhaps – to reach your goal. But if your aim is realistic to begin with, once you’ve made a start, you’re well on your way to making the life changes you want!
Which leads me onto the next crucial element: turning something into a habit. Research shows that we are far more likely to succeed at something once we incorporate it into our daily routine. Basically this sidesteps our brain’s tendency to question it. Even if you can only make a little time each day, the important thing is to do it regularly. ‘Little and often’ make the process easier, and helps it become part of the natural rhythm of your life.
And to enhance that natural process, we can use a little extra cleverness. If you’re a morning person, it makes sense to work with your early bird tendencies. So set the alarm half an hour earlier, rather than try and incorporate your new habit later in the day when you may be more tired. And if you really want to give yourself an extra push, take advantage of moments in the day when you can visualise yourself going through elements of your task – and succeeding. Your brain will respond accordingly!
Finally, the best bit: reward yourself. Track your progress, set yourself achievable milestones along the way, and be sure to celebrate once they’re achieved – perhaps with friends or family who are supporting you. For many, sharing their achievements is a magic ingredient of motivation. But if you’re flying solo, give yourself an extra reward for your strength and determination. Above all, cut yourself some slack and don’t give up if you hit a setback. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep your eyes on the prize. And if you need a little motivation boost, I recommend this download.
A qualified hypnotherapist or life coach can help you achieve your desired life changes if you need a little extra support on your journey. I offer a free no-obligation 15 minute phone consultation, if you’d like to find out more. Or check my success stories to read about clients who I’ve helped to make changes in their lives. Good luck!
(Published on The Hypnotherapy Directory, 3 January 2018)