Lasting, successful change doesn’t often happen overnight. So how realistic is it to declare your intention to lose weight or find romance today and effectively have it happen tomorrow, January 1? Making the intention and actually doing it are two different things.
What you are really doing when you make big changes is throwing away your bad habits that created or perpetuated the problem and creating new habits that will help you not only reach your goals, but also maintain those goals once you’ve reached them. Losing weight is not like a bucket-list item that once you’ve done it, you get to check it off and move on, keeping only the lasting memory of having done it.
Once you’ve gone to all the trouble to lose the weight, you don’t want to go back to your old habits and gain it all back. You want to keep it off so that you continue to look and feel great and fit into those smaller clothes. So what you are really saying when you want to lose weight is that you want to create a new lifestyle of habits that will not only get you to your ideal weight, but will also keep you at your ideal weight.
It helps to be clear on which habits need to go and which new habits you must create to be successful. And while habits are difficult to change, they’re not impossible. We do those things automatically, and if we try to change too many habits all at once, we’re likely to hit a wall and go right back to our comforting old habits. That’s why the gyms are packed on January 2 and empty again by February 1.
Once that’s done, pick another small manageable step and just do that! Like putting one foot in front of the other, keep taking the next small manageable step as you’re ready to take it. Before you know it, you’ll be there!
For example, if your goal is to find a new job, you may want to start by deciding on what kind of job you want to get. A small step could be to learn what opportunities exist that exploit your strengths and your passions by doing a Google search on “Careers or jobs involving your strength or passion”.
Maybe you need to put together a resume or update your existing resume. That’s a big step that you might procrastinate on doing. A small manageable step could be to find an example of a resume you like. Your next small step might be to add your name and contact info into that format. Then your next small step could be to add just your most recent experience. Then your next small step could be…
If your goal is to lose weight or be healthier, a small step could be to add one apple to your diet every day. No matter what else you eat, just make sure you eat that one, fresh apple, each and every day. Once you are comfortable with that, add a green salad to your diet every day. No matter what else you eat, just make sure you eat one fresh apple AND a green salad, each and every day.
As you add more and more good, nutrient-dense foods into your daily diet, you will find yourself crowding out the bad foods. Over time your tastes will naturally change to the point that you will want to eat the better foods that promote weight loss and good health, and you will like the foods that made you fat and unhealthy less and less.
Each time you successfully complete a small, manageable step, no matter how small, you build confidence and momentum. Soon you will find yourself taking larger and larger steps, and you will make faster and faster progress that builds on a solid foundation, making a relapse less and less likely.
So, don’t make some grand, sweeping resolution declaring your intention to make a major change. Instead, make a resolution to take a series of small, manageable steps that you absolutely know you can (and will) take, one, after another, after another, until you incorporate those permanent changes you’re after.
For more on New Year’s Resolutions, click here.
Wishing you and yours a Healthy, Happy, and Successful New Year! May all your dreams come true in 2014!!!
Please leave a comment: what is your resolution and what is the first small, manageable step you will take?