This time of year brings about excitement and positive energy where everyone is talking about the resolutions their making for the New Year. From getting in shape, stop procrastinating, to living a happier life, you name it they're going to do it.
But guess what, before January is even over they majority of people who've made resolutions have already quit and returned to the same old habits. Resolutions don’t work because many people don’t take them seriously and according to Forbes only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions.
Sad but true fact.
A young lady asked me on Periscope the other day why did I think people quit resolutions so easily and I simply said because people don't plan and they lack follow through. People like to make vague goals without a plan on how they're actually going to achieve them, which causes them to stay stuck.
Every year like clockwork one of your family members or coworkers ask you what’s your New Year's Resolution. You say something like, I plan to eat healthier this year or I’m getting out of debt. They then share their resolutions with you and then the conversation is on to a new topic.
I can almost guarantee that neither of you asked one another the following questions…
What’s your plan to accomplish your resolution?
What action steps to do you plan to take in order to reach your goals?
Who’s holding you accountable so you can achieve your resolutions?
I use to be the girl who would make resolutions year after year and because I didn’t properly plan for how I was going to make positive changes in my life, so I often failed.
Then I would end up feeling frustrated and disappointed with myself because in my heart I really wanted to change, but I lacked discipline and willpower with following through.
I thought something was wrong with me, like maybe I wasn’t meant to succeed; maybe I was suppose to live a mediocre life; maybe there was a secret that I didn’t know about on why some people could reach their goals and why some couldn’t.
I decided that I would stop making resolutions altogether and just commit to making small lifestyle changes.
For the longest time I wanted to become a pescatarian to have a healthier lifestyle, but I struggled with giving up chicken and turkey. I hadn’t eaten beef or pork in over 12 years so poultry was the last thing to give up. (SN: I do eat fried turkey once a year on Thanksgiving because it's so good.)
I started making small changes like instead of eating chicken and turkey for multiples meals throughout the day, I chose to eat it for one meal. After I got that down then I moved to only having it a couple times per week, then only on the weekends until I finally gave it up. It's like I was weening myself until I was able to quit altogether. I've been able to maintain this lifestyle change for over two years and I'm proud of this personal accomplishment.
I applied this same practice to other areas of my life and gradually I started seeing improvement and feeling better about the changes I was making. When you’ve been doing something for so long it’s almost impossible to think you’ll be able to change everything overnight. It’s a process that you have to go through by taking small steps every single day until you change your habits.
6 steps you can take to today to make lifestyle changes
Take time and reflect: What area of your life do you want to change the most and why? Think about why this change is important to you and what are you willing to do in order to make it happen. Reflect over last year, what areas did you fail at and what will you do differently this year so you don't repeat the same behaviors patterns. Press pause and pay attention to the things you continuously do that has keep you stuck and then commit to making little changes.
Think short term: Instead of trying to plan out the whole year, make a commitment for the next 3 months that you will focus on one lifestyle change. Celebrate your small win, once complete then make another goal for the next 3 months and so forth. If you practice this, by the end of the year you would have made 4 lifestyle changes that you can be proud of.
Focus on the end result: If you could change one thing in your life today, what would you change and why. For me I wanted to develop better eating habits and I knew that giving up poultry would be a challenge. I chose to focus on the end result and why I wanted to make this change in the first place. Always keep the end in mind as you work on changing your life.
Get support: This is SO important. I will be honest with you, it’s hard to make lifestyle changes on your own if you lack discipline. It’s more doable to change your habits and improve your life when you have people in your corner rooting you on.
Keep track of your progress: It’s easy to feel like you’re not getting anything done when you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. When you start making positive changes to improve your life you'll be surprised at how much you can get done. I created a printable monthly tracker for you so you can simply check off each day you work on your goal. It's really simple and serves as a reminder that you are accomplishing things even when you don't feel like it.
Don’t let one bad day cause you to quit: We all have bad days. Life happens. Don’t quit your goals all together because you fall off for one day. Going back to tip 3 always focus on the end result and why you want to change your life. Quitting is easy, the people that win are the ones who hang in there no matter what. Everyday you get a fresh start to start again. Embrace it.
Change doesn't miraculously happen you have to put in the effort. If you’re going to make lifestyle changes you first need to figure out what areas of your life you want to improve. You owe it yourself for once in your life to commit to making changes that you can stick to in order to design the lifestyle you want.
Did you make New Year Resolutions? What's your plan to make lifestyle changes to improve your life?