Many of us like to kick off the New Year with resolutions, goals and plans.
Unfortunately, we also have this misguided notion that resolutions need to be a complete overhaul to our current lifestyle, be time-consuming, and require endless motivation and self-discipline.
But what if it didn't.
What if the new daily schedule wasn't
Run 3 miles
Drink 60 oz of water
Meditate for 20 min
Finally get your finances in order
Stop eating carbs, sugar, fat, and calories in general
Especially when you currently don't exercise, drink any water, or have any quiet time in your day. What makes us think we're all of a sudden going to wake up a different person?!
So, our inner perfectionist goes all in on this complete overhaul for 3 days, then we inevitably skip a day, feel terrible about ourselves and our 'inability' to change, and then just drop the whole thing by Saturday.
We've been down this road for years. Many of us for decades. Time to try something different.
What if instead, you start small.
Isolate one thing (yes, just one) to start with. Resist the urge to add 5 different habits at once, we know that approach doesn’t work.
Your new habit should be something you can do several times a week (ideally every day so you have lots of chances to practice it).
A KEY benefit of starting small is building up consistent wins.
You are building evidence for yourself that you are the type of person who stretches before bed every night, or the type of person who reaches out to a friend every day, or spends 2 minutes writing in a journal each morning.
In psychology, we call this self-efficacy.
How is it built? By doing it! This creates a sense of confidence and belief in yourself.
Once the new habit becomes more automatic, you can slowly build upon it.
How could this look in your life?
Instead of lose 15 lbs, maybe it's add in a serving of fruit and veggies each day
Instead of run 3 miles a day, start with a 5 min walk around the block, or a 15 minute HIIT video
Instead of a 20 min meditation, maybe it's 3 deep breaths before you get out of bed each morning or a 2 min gratitude practice at breakfast with your family
Your brain will love the consistency of a smaller habit and will find satisfaction in doing it regularly.
This leads to a desire to do the behavior more ;)
PS! Click here for 5 Simple Steps to Creating a New Habit. Starting small is a key one!
PPS! If you are a list-making, write-everything-down type of person like I am, print out my favorite HABIT TRACKER!!
Hope this is helpful as you review some of your plans for the New Year.
Remember, small successes add up to BIG wins.