Every January, people all over the country, maybe the world, decide to use the New Year holiday as the kick-off to some type of lifestyle change. Whether it’s quitting a habit like smoking or drinking sodas or adding in habits like relaxation/meditation or exercise, the end result for many of us is often the same. By February, or for those who are especially motivated, March, our attempts to change fall by the way side. So the question is, how can we make resolutions we can stick with?
The answer is simple. Small changes are the way to go. You’re probably thinking “There’s got to be more to it than that.” It really is that simple. Here’s what you need to do:
1) Start with something you actually want to do, not something you think you should do. Without this, you will be unsuccessful. If you actually want to quit smoking, you can. If your family is asking you to do it and your heart just isn’t in it yet, you are likely to fail.
2) Pick the smallest change possible that you can actually do. Let’s stick with the above example. If you are a 1 pack/day smoker, cut down to ¾ of a pack. Stay there until you are confident you can cut down more.
3) Don’t try to change anything else in your life until this one is mastered. You want to change your eating habits? Great for you. Want to begin an exercise program? Awesome. Don’t do either yet. Kick the cigarettes first. Then move on to the next challenge.
4) Be accountable to someone. Having someone check on you regularly will give you that little boost when you might otherwise break. If nothing else, this works just because you don’t want to have to tell that person checking on you that you caved.
There you have it. These four pieces will give you a much better chance of being successful at making those resolutions stick.