Most people want to make some kind of change in their lives – reduce stress and anxiety, be healthier, exercise more, lose weight, reduce alcohol, have more fulfilling relationships, etc. Every time January 1st comes around we feel the need to set ourselves New Year Resolutions and try to implement these changes into our lives. This time of year I suggest creating new habits instead of New Years Resolutions. Try using these steps to help you achieve a happier and brighter future.
Spend some time to establish what you really want and why you want to achieve this change. Without having a compelling reason why you want to achieve your goal, it will be more difficult to achieve it. For example. Most people at this time of year will say they want to lose weight. Spend a little time, understanding the real reason as to why it is important to achieve this goal and find the emotion attached to this goal. Use these words in bold and fill in your answer. To give an example of how this works, I have taken the goal of losing weight as it is a familiar one especially for this time of year.
I want to lose weight
I want to lose weight because I want more energy
I want more energy because I want to be able to run around with my kids
And I want to run around with my kids because we can laugh and play together
And I want to laugh and play together because it makes me feel connected with them
And I want to feel connected with them because it makes me feel happy and loved
Sit quietly, close your eyes and imagine you have already achieved your goal. Where are you? Are you alone or with others? What colours do you see? What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you feeling? Make the visualisation as colourful and big as possible. Your mind will then know what it is that you want. Perhaps make into a picture or photo and when you look at it, feel the elation.
This is an important step to ensure that the new habit sticks. Make it small and achievable. This time, I am taking the goal as running 5k. You have already established what is important about this and can visualise what it will feel like when you have achieved your goal.
Now follow these steps:
Decide what time of day you will do this. If it is first thing in the morning, get your clothes ready the night before. As soon as the alarm rings say 5-4-3-2-1 and get up. Go to the bathroom and clean your teeth. Put your clothes on and go outside.
Start warming up and walking for about 3 minutes. Run slowly for 1 minute. Walk for 3 minutes. Keep repeating this 3 or 4 times. Then stop. Congratulate yourself for getting up, getting dressed and going out – for keeping to your commitment. You can gradually increase but the important task is to get up and go outside until it becomes a regular habit and your mind understands it is a habit that you want.
(If you have any health conditions, ensure that you speak to your GP before starting any exercise).
Celebrate success no matter how small. Feeling successful helps us to wire into our brains new habits and then motivates us to do more. That is why it is no use telling ourselves that we are not good enough, not disciplined enough, we always give up etc. Remember, our mind gives us what we believe.
A great book to read to make changes is called Tiny Habits – The Small Changes that Change Everything by B J Fogg PhD – founder of the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University.
I thoroughly recommend that if you want to feel better and live more to subscribe to Dr Rangan Chatterjee ‘s free weekly podcast. He is a brilliant GP in the UK whose mission is to improve the lives of 100 million people. He interviews amazing thought leaders, experts in their field of mental and physical health and every week I look forward to his Wednesday podcast.
If you would like some help on your journey, please book a free call and I will be delighted to speak with you or sign up for my monthly newsletter by going to my website www.lyndacant.com
As we enter 2021, not quite knowing what the future holds, I wish you a year full of hope and success.
Love Lynda x