The New Year brings new opportunities and a blank slate.
We’re now in that time of year when many people reflect on their lives and evaluate what they have accomplished.
Many people also set goals for the New Year.
These may be to:
- Begin something,
- Stop doing something,
- Do something even better,
- Do less of something, or
- Cut bad habits, become a better human being, etc.
Surveys show, however, that few people succeed in the long run with their New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some tips you should consider before you begin
Changing habits and the way we do things does not happen by itself. It is hard work, and you must be willing to do the job.
- You want to change the way you do things, change habits and thought patterns that are deeply ingrained, perhaps over several years.
- This requires you to actually want to change (not just because you think you should).
- You have to challenge yourself and work actively to bring about change.
Set realistic goals and start small
It is not always easy to start the process of change. It also depends a little on the challenges you face and where you are in the process.
Changing something on its own is not the same as being able to do something about all of your life situations or events. Sometimes the most important thing is to recognize that you are doing the best you can, given the circumstances.
To really make a change, you should first identify the problem, set realistic goals and then begin working towards these goals.
- What gives you energy?
- What gives your life meaning?
- What do you find challenging?
- What would you like to change / do more or less of?
Change is not only about setting goals, but also about what can you do to stay motivated to keep making progress.
Set yourself intermediate goals on the way towards your big goal, so you get the feeling of having mastered/achieved something along the way—it will help you to persevere.
If you are afraid to speak up in large gatherings, you should begin to practice this skill in smaller forums. You first steps (goals) might be to comment or ask a question in a smaller meeting with just a few people. Practice in smaller situations.
- Think of the process of change as if you are walking up a staircase, where each stair is synonymous with a step or intermediate goal on the way to the big goal.
- Every step counts.
Don’t give up
Change takes time. It is a long-term undertaking. The process of change consists of both ups and downs, and you can’t always expect to make progress.
- Keep in mind when you’re working to change that there will probably be some “downturns.”
- Don’t be disappointed with yourself, but think instead that at least you tried, and next time it will be better.
- It is important to not give up.
One reason you might give up may be that your goals are too ambitious.
Setting realistic goals is an important part of the process of mapping out your larger ambitions.
You start with good spirits and good thoughts. You’ve set goals and made good progress with making changes, but then everything stops…
- Perhaps you give up because you feel uncomfortable?
- You give up because you don’t feel as if you are mastering the situation and you think bad thoughts about yourself?
- You give up because you fail to follow the plan you’ve set for yourself?
- You give up because …
Say you have never jogged before and decide that you will now begin a new and better life—you will exercise every day. Everything goes fine for the first week, but then things don’t go so well for various reasons (you get injured, other tasks derail you, you find it too difficult to follow through or it was too hard in the first place). So you give up because you did not achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Keep track of your progress
During the process of change, it is often easy to forget all the little things you have actually achieved on the way towards your big goal. This is one of many reasons why we have developed Mindfit. We recommend that you record the positive events in your life and your feelings of mastery along the way.
Recording the small steps confirms that you are on the right path, and you can also look back at everything that you’ve actually achieved when you have a little “downturn” or relapse. It can be easy to focus on everything you haven’t achieved, so recording progress will help keep your spirits up.
It sounds simple, but you have to decide to set aside a few minutes regularly for the process to work. This is perhaps where the greatest challenge lies—remembering to do it.
Remember that little achievements count as progress—that you’re trying, and even if you think that you haven’t gotten as far as you would like, this is also a step in the right direction. Every step counts.