January 1st. It’s finally here. In theory, a new beginning. We feel that we can wipe the slate clean and start fresh, being a better, healthier, happier and more successful version of ourselves. It’s exciting, exhilarating and full of promise!
But there is one important fact that we tend to overlook; I am still Me and you are still You. The stroke of midnight did not wipe away our fears, bad habits and limiting beliefs. Nor did it imbue us with super human strength, a higher IQ, new knowledge or an improved skill set. Our levels of discipline and focus are also unchanged. So why do we suddenly feel more empowered to achieve our dreams?
Because what January 1st does provide is enthusiasm and hope! The end of the last year marks an end to a chapter in our lives. And endings give birth to new beginnings… which bring with them their own surge of energy, optimism and desire to succeed.
But this power surge is only a booster shot, it’s not sustainable, nor is it meant to be. About 3 weeks into the new year is when I find people start to burn out with their new aspirations. Exhausted from the flurry of activity, defenses drop, old habits creep back in and the enthusiasm of January 1 is barely a residue as we predictably settle into our old routines. Our goals and resolutions get scaled back or abandoned, often followed by feelings of failure, overwhelm and resignation. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few tips to help you be the change you want this year.
Remember, it’s a New Year, but not a New You – that takes persistence, patience and immense growth.
Don’t make resolutions, make a plan. Maybe it’s a weight loss plan, fitness plan, financial plan, relationship plan. Decide the steps you will take over the coming months not just the next few weeks.
Make it easy and take it slow, you don’t have to do this all at once. Sustainable change and BIG change doesn’t happened overnight. Small steps helps you to keep moving forward and guards against the pull to slide back when things get challenging.
Commit to growing You this year. Where do you have to grow as a person? Do you need to master a new skill set? Take a course? Read more? Incorporate or strengthen your spiritual or meditation practices? Or maybe learn better time management, overcome procrastination or get better organized and focused.
Commit to ditching an old habit and replacing it with a healthier one. Maybe you need to get to bed earlier, eat healthier (and start with one meal per day – don’t try to overhaul your entire diet and life overnight) exercise regularly or network consistently. Most things we do are habit. Change a habit and change your life.
Pick ONE thing at a time, maybe one per month from the lists above. When you’ve mastered that, move on to the next.
Ride out the discomfort. New habits and behaviors are seldom easy. It’s going to feel uncomfortable and you’ll probably want to quit. Ride it out. Remind yourself of the payoff and that the discomfort is only temporary. Soon, it will be just the way you are, and will even tally become routine. The new level = a New You.
Sleep. Yes… really. When we don’t get enough sleep we are less effective. Our tempers are shorter, attention span shrinks and we tend to put on weight as the body functions at less than optimal level. Sleep, not only feels great, but it strengthens our willpower and keeps us on track for long term success.
Seek support, structure and accountability. Going it alone is very tough. Join a support group, buddy up, seek out a mentor or hire a coach.
Give yourself something good! Maybe it a reward when you reach a milestone or set an “enjoyment goal” … to go out to more social events, see more movies and regularly go to wine tastings. Life is meant to be joyful! Constantly pushing and striving can be a very clever way to beat ourselves up. Allow yourself some fun and freedom and the tough stuff will be a lot easier to sustain.
- So what are you looking to accomplish in 2016?
- What are your creative aspirations?
- What are your financial targets?
- What are your spiritual desires?
- What are your relationship intentions?
- What are your career plans?
- What are your physical goals?
- What skills are you willing to learn?
- What bad habits are you ready to leave behind?
- What fears could you possibly overcome?
- What dream could you double, multiply and stretch bigger?
Everything is possible.
If you’re ready to change your life this year you can make it happen! Dream bigger. Reach higher. And above all be good to yourself. Treat You like your most precious and valuable appreciating asset – that’s exactly what you are. Be kind, nurturing and supportive. Give yourself the TOOL S you need to succeed, with the time and the space, not just the supercharged ambition.
If you need help, I’m always here.
From My Heart to Yours,
As always, I love your thoughts and comments below. xo