It takes twenty-one days to form a new habit and your mind is a powerful tool in helping you form and keep those habits. In fact, our mind is so powerful that, if we don’t stay focused, it will “help” us break our New Year Resolutions within the first week of setting them.
The top New Year’s Resolutions, according to usa.gov, last year were:
- Eat Healthy Food
- Get a Better Education
- Get a Better Job
- Get Fit
- Lose Weight
- Manage Debt
- Manage Stress
- Quit Smoking
- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- Save Money
- Take a Trip
- Volunteer to Help Others
- Drink Less Alcohol
Surprising? Not really.
How many times have you set a goal on New Year’s Day of what you wanted to accomplish for the year? Probably all of us. How long did it take before you gave up that goal?
The word resolution means “a firm decision to do or not to do something;” however, I suspect that the word actually has the opposite affect on most people. By the end of January, people have typically given up those resolutions and gone back to the status quo, never having actually accomplished what it was that they were really striving for: A Life Change.
Changing the way you see your resolution — not as a goal but as a life style change — will help immensely in your ability to achieve what it is you want to accomplish.
We are going to walk you through some simple things you can do that will help you finally achieve that life style change you have been craving.
- Positive Thoughts: It’s true what your Grandma told you– “If you think you can, You Can. If you think you can’t, you won’t.” You become what you think and if your thoughts are focused — for the first week of your new goals — on positive and inspiring ones your chances of achieving your goals increase by 50%. Put post-it notes up all over the house saying “I’m powerful and I WILL achieve my goals.”
- Live in Reality: Don’t put the cart before the horse. In other words: If your end goal is to “be in shape” don’t try to run a marathon before you can walk a mile. Once you have your end goal in mind, you need to set smaller goals that you can accomplish one month at a time. If your end goal is to “be in shape” but your couch has a permanent imprint of your rear, set the goal this month to walk every day for 15 minutes. Once you have accomplished that you can move on to the next level of accomplishing your final goal of “being in shape.” You may need to refine that goal, ultimately, and be more specific in what it is that you want to accomplish. But, “being in shape” is a good beginning.
- Envision the End Result: It sounds hokey, I know. But it works. Whatever that end goal is that you have — envision yourself accomplishing it. How does it feel? Memorize those feelings. Set a specific date that you want to have your goal accomplished by and write it down. Hang this goal with the specific end date in a prominent place that you will see on a daily basis. This will help keep your goal in the forefront of your mind, making it easier to accomplish. Lets say you want to be able to run a 5k without dying. You need to first find one, that is far enough in the future that you can train for it, and then register for it. You now have something concrete that will help push forward, keep you motivated as well helping you be accountable.
- Be Like Nike and Just Do It: If you can keep yourself focused for twenty-one days then you will have the beginnings of a new habit– a new lifestyle. Don’t get frustrated or discouraged. Thoughts are the key to your accomplishing your goals– so keep your thoughts upbeat and positive. Negative thoughts are not allowed this year!
Remember: Accomplishing your goals is just like eating an elephant. You CAN accomplish that life style change you are craving one bite at a time.