Make Change Stick
Every new year feels like a fresh start, a renewed hope for a better. After 2020, the year of political mayhem, Covid entrapment, and juggling homeschooling while working I was sure 2021 was going to be better. LOL! Yeah, boy was I wrong at least in the global sense. On the positive side, my personal life did improve even though I had four surgeries. UGH! Despite the turmoil and setbacks, how did my life change in the upward direction? I made changes I could control, changes that stuck all year. You can too.
Change of Perspective
You don’t have to be the Avenger of willpower to keep your resolutions, even though at times it feels that way, especially with big changes. Keep your resolution realistic and focus on each step that advances toward your goal, no matter how small or large. Each step in the right direction is modification—the goal. Sometimes the goal takes longer than you expected. That’s okay too. IT’s not a race (unless it literally is race. In that case MOVE).
“We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit,” Aristotle.
Choose a Specific Goal
Not only is it important to be specific, like loose 20 pounds this year, it is also important to create a plan filled with mini goals that will guide you to the finish line. According to werywellmind.com when you limit your resolutions and focus on one goal at a time, you boost your belief in yourself. The American Psychological Association (APA) said, focusing on one behavior at a time also makes it more likely to lead to long-term success.
Plan A, B, C…Z, the Track to Change
Take the time to choose the goal and take the time to plan the journey. Effort (i.e., planning + work) equals results. Creating a ladder of mini goals ensures success and motivation will last.Also like any good plan, you need backups when obstacles knock you off your consistency. If you do fall off the wagon—It’s okay! You slipped. Get back up and keep trying. If your goal is to run three days a week and you only ran one day. GREAT JOB! You ran! Next week, shoot for two days and evaluate what got in the way. Create a plan to work around the obstacle for the next week and NEVER beat yourself up. Change is not easy, or everyone would do it. Need more guidance? Check out: Goal Setting.
“Help others win & you win too,”
Some people say being accountable ensures change. Nobody likes to be nagged, though. Choose your support system wisely and set boundaries on how you want them to motivate, checkup, or remind you. I don’t like telling friends my goals because I don’t want to let anyone down, and I don’t want to be nagged by guilt or them. So, my alternative to getting support is I tell either invite them along, or join a group that likes to do the same thing. Use that support. When you’re standing in front of the fridge at nine o’clock at night bored, reach out to a friend or better create a mini goal to counter your temptations like when you step to the fridge at nine at night, call a friend, or go up and down the stairs three times. Leave a note to remind you when you’re staring the obstacle in the face. You can do it!
Record Your Success
Verywellmind.com suggests keeping a resolution journal. Write down your victories and your failures. “Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it.” Arianna Huffington. Embrace the oops and it won’t sting quite as much. Dust yourself off and keep going. That’s what all hero’s do, and effecting change is a hero’s journey! According to Beesley and Apthorp’s meta-analysis, writing specifically handwriting improves memory. I’ve always imagined writing my successes like chiseling in the stony parts of my heart, “I can do it, I can do it, YOU DID IT!”
Several years back, when my knees were younger and more forgiving, I ran a marathon. (I use the term run very loosely). I finished a marathon. (More accurate). Why did I do it? I wish I could say I love running, but I don’t. I actually hate it, but there was a time when I couldn’t walk. My friend encouraged me to run the Bolder Boulder (a 10k race, but more like a 6-mile party). I laughed in her face because I couldn’t even walk across my driveway. She (thankfully) didn’t take offense and said, “I’ll walk beside you.” She did. When I got stronger. She ran with me, and we recruited a few other friends.
One victory led to another. A year after I couldn’t walk, my friend asked if I wanted to run a half-marathon. With courage and a few completed races (finished distances) under my belt. I agreed, “Why not?” Who knows how long I will be able to? The training was long and hard, and after ten, fifteen mile runs when I wanted to lie on the sidewalk with my address scribbled on my body and a note that read, if found take me to this address. I had to keep reminding myself, I can do it. Over time as the miles and hours added up, I changed my mantra to I am doing it. There were runs where I repeated that for an hour straight, putting one foot in front of the other, but I didn’t give up. When I crossed that finish line many months later. I cried. My hips and knees screamed at me, but I wept with joy, and my kids and husband had to carry me to the car. I did it. I ran 3, 7, 9, 15, 2, 26.2 miles and accomplishing that has changed my life.
Don’t Let Fear Keep You From You
“Triumph over adversity that’s what the marathon is all about. Nothing in life can’t triumph after that,” Kathrine Switzer.
It’s true. Even in dark times, and we all have them, I know I will survive because I finished that marathon. I had the courage to tackle a huge goal—a goal in the beginning was impossible. I had support, and I made mini goals along the way. If I can do that, you can too. Follow these steps and be your own hero! A new year, a new you!