How to Make Lasting Change this New Year
The new year often begins with the best of intentions. The changing of the calendar can bring with it a sense of renewed vigor and energy, a chance to start over on the things we don’t think we’re doing so well. However, as anyone who has ever bought a gym membership in January can tell you, the burst of energy that comes with January 1st is often short lived, getting swallowed whole by the demands of life that don’t stop coming just because a new year has begun. In the onslaught of the overwhelm, all good intentions go out the window and we find ourselves living much the same as we did the previous year.
It can be paralyzing to think about changing whole pieces of your life overnight. It’s important to have goals of self-improvement to strive for, but the intention of making huge changes suddenly is such a large and difficult task, it isn’t any wonder our willpower starts to fail by February. Real change is possible, but how can it be accomplished without overwhelming ourselves or demanding too much too quickly?
Notice Your Habits
Understand that the majority of things you do in any given day are habits that you have formed over time. You’ve done things the same way so often and for so long, you don’t even think about them anymore, and it would never cross your mind to do them differently. Pay attention to your habits and start noticing what they are. What do you eat for breakfast? When do you go to bed? What route do you take to work? They are all little things, but your life is made of these little things.
Change Your Habits
After you’ve identified what your habits are, decide what you’d like to change. If your goal is a healthier diet and you eat cookies with lunch every day, bring carrots instead, or simply bring one less cookie than you normally would. If you typically take the elevator, take the stairs instead. Make small, manageable changes to the habits you already have. Just change one thing about any of your routines and you will start to notice a difference. Our actions make up our lives, and changing the smallest of actions and performing it consistently over time will change the pattern of your life, guaranteed.
Keep at It
Once you’ve made positive changes in your routines, stay with it until the new patterns become habits too. In very little time, the small changes you made will add up to show major positive shifts in your life. Stick to your new patterns, and you will see more growth this new year than huge proclamations of change will have made in years past. You are the architect of your own life and can build anything you can dream up. So make the small changes and keep going!