Happy New Year and welcome to the start of 2022. It’s an exciting time when your mind thinks about all the changes you will make to do things differently this year. Have you made your New Year resolutions? This year you are determined to lose weight; Cut down the alcohol; Stop spending and start saving; Study for a new career; finally, give up smoking. Whatever your list includes did you take a moment before you decided what you want to DO, to think about who it is that you want to BE once you have achieved your goals for 2022? Or did you just decide that you want to lose weight – again?
Why do resolutions fail and quite often before the end of January? We might start off well, we are still on holiday mode and feel relaxed after the festive season, but once we return to the humdrum of daily life it is all too easy to slip back into the old unwanted habits.
One of the main reasons for failing is that we have not decided the person we want to be, we have only decided the action we want to take. We might want to give up alcohol, but who will you be when you do that? What will you do with your day, your life, what new beliefs will you have about yourself, about alcohol, what baggage will you need to drop from your past? How different will your life need to be?
You cannot live your life the way you live it now if you want to lose 2 stones; If you want to stop being in debt at the end of every month; if you want to say goodbye to alcohol addiction. Why? Because if you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got. If you remain stuck in your current life you may start off full of enthusiasm but eventually, you will be dragged back, the weight will go back on, the credit cards will be spent, or you will reach for whatever you used in the past to get you through the life that you are living now.
So, how do we make those resolutions stick, so that this time next year you can make new resolutions that build on the person you became in 2022?
- First decide who you want to be? Have a look around at family, friends, colleagues or even someone famous who is for example your ideal weight, someone who is the person you want to become. Look at how they live their life, what they do every day, what their interests and hobbies are, how they socialise, what their believes are about health, lifestyle, finances etc.
- If you want to achieve your goal you have to change more than one little thing. If you want to stop drinking, then stopping putting alcohol in your mouth is only the first step. As with weight loss, you can start by binning the sweets and sugar, but that is only the start. If we don’t change anything else then by the end of 2022 you will once again be making the same resolutions as the you have made for the past 5 years.
- Build your new habits, slowly. You can make substantial changes in your life, with a big bang or you can slowly build up new habits’ day by day, slowly moving from your old way of living your life to the new you and putting in place the things that need to change to become the new you for 2022. Building habits slowly, but day by day is the best way to make them stick. It was the way that you built your old habits, bit by bit, year after year and look at how hard they have become to let go.
- If you want to introduce for example exercise into your daily routine, then find something that is right for you and that you can fit into your daily life. Changing habits works best when we repeat the new habit every day and at a certain time. Decide in advance that you will get up an hour earlier, half an hour earlier or fifteen minutes earlier and do your exercises at a certain time each day. The more we repeat it the more it will stick and become your new habit.
- Enjoy what you do, even if at first you are only telling yourself that this is great fun, and smile while you are doing it, eventually you will enjoy it as it will become part of who you are. It will become the new you.
- If you are adding in more than one activity to the new you, e.g., exercise, meditation, reading, learning a foreign language, learning to cook healthy food, then you need to schedule it all in, ask yourself when will you do these things? At what time of day? The more you can do something at a certain time the more it will stick as a new habit. The time is as important as the repetition as our mind takes note that at this time of day, you like to exercise, and it will help you along with a little reminder. The same way it reminded the old you that it was time for chocolate or alcohol. It can now be your best friend reminding you it’s time to create your new life.
Whoever you choose to be I hope that you have a wonderful and peaceful 2022.