In last blog post, we covered the 3 most important changes that need to happen in order to form a habit and make it stick for as long as possible.
Let’s remember a few things from the last post:
How do we form habits/changes and make them stick?
First, we need to realize that our mind must change before any behavior changes.
Second, we need to create an accountability structure to help us sustain change.
And third and most important; we need to stick with the new habit/change for as long as it takes to adopt it as a part of our new identity (remember those 66 days)
Today we will add a few more tips.
Most of the time there is one change that can be a catalyst for all others. For me, this was a decision to start training and going to the gym. Seeing how my body has changed, I also changed my mind. With a changed mindset, I started eating healthier; I wanted to learn more and grow more as a person. This one change brought all the other changes later in life. But don’t expect big changes overnight; it took me almost 10 years of constant work to implement many positive changes in my life and remove the bad ones. And I still have a long way to go.
Try to find that one keystone change and it will create a snowball effect. Soon you will want to make more and more changes to improve your life, but don’t do too much, as this can have the opposite effect. Don’t implement more than 3 big changes during the year.
Trying to change too many things at once can quickly become overwhelming. If you lose ground under one change, there is a huge probability you will lose sight of the other changes you want to implement. Big changes can be something like quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthier, starting going to the gym, reading regularly, learning a new skill, etc. You can always add a few small ones if you feel confident you can handle it. Small ones like 1-minute breathing exercises, daily affirmations, journaling, stretching, cold showers, etc.
Always Start Small.
This is so important, yet many people overlook it. They think it’s stupid because it requires too little effort. For example, if you want to start running, don’t go out on the first day and run 5 kilometers. Chances are when you return to the house, you’ll throw away your sneakers and quit because it was too hard. Even if you think you’ve made a mistake, the next-day-soreness will remind you you haven’t, and that is easier to stay home, watch TV and relax than to go out in the cold and run. Instead, prepare running attire in the evening before running and go to bed. When you wake up, put on your clothes, put on the running shoes, and take a walk in your own backyard or to the street. Then return inside. Done.
Congratulate Yourself. “But this is nothing, I don’t feel tired”, you might tell. Just trust me, this is enough for the first day. We are trying to change your thought process and your mind here. What this brief walk will do to your mind is far more than it will do to your body. Your brain will realize that it wasn’t that bad and that you can do more. Repeat the procedure next day, but walk a little longer. And then even more, until you finish walking around the block. After a while, you can start jogging and soon you will be able to run.
Habit will be ingrained in your mind, and change will happen. In the time from walking till running, it is important that you don’t quit doing it. Even if something unplanned arises (as it almost always will – because this is life), and you couldn’t do it today, forgive yourself and get back on track tomorrow.
Maybe running will be an inspiration for you to eat healthier or watch less TV or quit smoking, and soon you will look back and your entire life will be different.
The biggest reason most New Year’s resolutions fail is that we often know what we want to do, but we are not sure why we want to do it. For example, you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is this goal so important to you?
Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example for your kids? Do you want to lose fat to feel more confident and sexy in your body or do you want to be healthy so you can have increased clarity, energy, and focus that will improve every single aspect of your life?
Whether you get in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy levels, feel confident, have an excuse to buy new clothes, or find a new soulmate is up to you. When you know your why, then what becomes easier because you have a purpose, and the chances of succeeding improve drastically.
When you know your why then:
Don’t just say: “I want to get in better shape”, because this goal is too broad.
Clearly define what you want to do, by when, and how you plan to measure it. Example: I want to lift 50 kilos on a bench press by May 5, 2021. To do this, I need to commit to training at least 3 times per week for the next 5 months.
Failure is an integral part of everyone’s life, and it is impossible to avoid it. Therefore, when it happens, quickly forgive yourself and continue with the change.
If you’re just starting to run, don’t expect to run a marathon anytime soon. Slowly work towards it, and one day, I guarantee, you’ll do it (if you want).
If you smoke a pack of cigarettes per day and now want to quit, don’t throw away the whole pack. First, try to smoke less, and over time you might smoke just one or two per day. Then it will be much easier to stop completely than to quit cold turkey when you smoked 20 cigarettes per day.
We all know that change takes time. It took you X years to be where you are now, so don’t expect to be a new person after a week or a month. To see serious changes, you need at least 3 to 6 months of active work every single day.
Give yourself enough time and patiently adhere to it. Remember, if you focus on only 1% improvement every single day and do so consistently, the effect will be cumulative and therefore powerful.
When compiling a list of changes you want to make, always make them sound positive. Instead of saying: “I can’t eat junk food because I want to lose weight”, say: “I will incorporate carrots and nuts as a healthy snack”. Positively framed changes are like affirmations. They train our mind to expect change.
And last, but a really important one;
No matter what your New Year or “any other day” resolution is, you can succeed at it. It won’t be easy, but it won’t be hard either. Just stick to it, and eventually, it will become a part of you, and then it will change your life forever.
I believe in you. Now, you need to believe in yourself.
P.S.: If you have or know some good ideas that you think can improve my life and the lives of our readers, leave them in the comments below. I am eager to try them
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