A quick browse through the magazine stand in the supermarket demonstrates that ‘new year new you’ is a popular headline in this first week of January. Just like last year. But magazines and newspapers know what sells copies. They know that for many of us, this is a time for reflection, a time for change. After the excesses of the festive season, we are ready to detox away the mince pie muffin top, restore our poor maltreated liver with a dry January. We are going to get fit, get a new job, or even, if the trend towards the solicitor’s door remains as most years, get a divorce. We are going to start stuff and stop stuff and change all sorts of stuff.
There is something about the new year that makes us feel that we can be that person that we have always wanted to be. A new, shiny, improved version of ourselves.
But here’s the thing. By the middle of February we are frequently found standing amidst the ruins of our own promises. And we already know it will be so. Check LinkedIn Pulse if you will. It is already full of 5, 10, 15 tips on how to stick to your resolutions.
I think the reason that many resolutions don’t last longer than the leftover Christmas chocolate is simple. We aim too high and for too long.
Before the holidays, I downloaded a 30-day Abs Challenge app. Not too big and not too scary. Just 30-days where you had to do a little something every day. Why? Because it builds a habit. And from the App designer’s perspective, if I build a habit then I might just upgrade to the paid for version. Actually, I did it for three days and forgot all about it. Which tells me that I didn’t want to build this habit enough or I would have found the time, not let it slip from my mind. Right there is another reason that many resolutions fail; we pick things we are not truly committed too. They just sound good at the time, like the Abs challenge did to me. You will only change stuff if you really want to, and really believe that you can.
Promising that you are going to run a marathon when you can’t currently run for a bus is only going to end in disappointment.
So this year I’m picking small stuff. And I’m doing it the App way. I’m giving myself a 30-day challenge. Realistic. Doable. Not at all scary.
Form a habit and the behaviour becomes automatic. No one has to remind you to clean your teeth in the morning when you get up. The doing is firmly implanted in our neural pathways. And if I can do it for 30-days, then just maybe I’ll still be doing it in December. And the only person I am accountable to, is myself.
So whatever it is you want to change, start, stop, continue. Work stuff or personal stuff.
Could you start with just 30-days?