One of the reasons we fail to achieve our goals or new year’s resolutions is we fail to build the right habits to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve. Most of us are very good at coming up with ideas about what we want to achieve, what we want to change and even how we will do it, but when the new year begins we fail to develop the necessary habits to make those plans and ideas become reality. As the saying goes: “If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got”. At the core of this saying lays the cause of so much frustration and many excuses.
So, if it is the patterns and habits we follow every day that prevent us from making the necessary changes needed to achieve our goals then it follows that once we are aware of our habits and daily behaviours, we can make a few simple changes to gain some spectacularly positive results.
A typical example.
If you wake up in the morning at the latest possible time , turn on the news, check your email while rushing to shower and get out the door to catch the bus, spend all day dealing with crises before heading home to eat an unhealthy dinner while sat in front of the TV watching programmes you are only half interested in and repeat that pattern every day, then the outcomes you currently have will continue. They will continue until you break that daily pattern.
To break that pattern, try waking up one hour earlier and doing thirty-minutes exercise and thirty-minutes reading a book while drinking a nice cup of coffee, before unhurriedly stepping into the shower and leaving the house to catch the bus in a relaxed, content state.
You do not have to do this in one big change. If waking up one hour earlier scares you, then begin by waking up thirty minutes earlier. Just make sure that with this extra time in a morning, you have a plan to do something positive that will benefit you and take you a step closer each day towards achieving your goals.
Likewise, when you get home in the evening you could cook yourself a healthy meal before heading outside for a 30-minute brisk walk around the block. You do not have to do anything extreme, just change a few behaviours.
Jim Rohn said “success is a few simple disciplines practised every day. Failure is a few errors in judgement repeated every day” When you really begin to understand that to change anything about yourself and your life all you need do is change a few simple habits and begin practising more positive behaviours each day, positive change can and will happen.
Review your daily behaviours and habits.
To start this change, look at your daily behaviours and habits and identify those that are destroying your health, opportunities and success. Which of your daily habits place a drag on your health and productivity? Which ones leave you feeling stressed and exhausted? These simple questions will lead you to identify what is damaging your chances of achieving your goals and New Year’s resolutions.
Once you have identified the patterns of behaviour that are destroying your chances of success, you can then begin the process of turning them into more positive habits and behaviours.
Don’t change everything at once.
Now the secret here is to not try and change everything all at once. What you are doing is developing new habits and behaviours and you have plenty of time to make the changes you need to make. Trying to do everything all at once will likely lead to failure. It is far better to create a twelve-month plan and divide that into quarters. Then, in the first quarter focus on changing your morning habits. In the second quarter change your evening habits and in the third quarter change whatever else you want to change. Plan for the long-term and take things slowly.
Robin Sharma says “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end.”And it is true. If you have always woken up at 7:30 AM changing that to waking up at 6:30 AM is going to be hard at first. Your body clock is used to waking up at a particular time and is going to fight you. But you need to stay focused on the task. When your alarm clock goes off at 6:30 AM, and it is freezing cold and every bone in your body is screaming at you to stay in your warm, cosy bed, you have to fight to win the battle and you are going to have to do that every day for a few weeks. That could be for as long as ten weeks. (It takes around sixty-six days to install a new habit) Prepare yourself for the fight. Visualise yourself waking up early and make sure you know exactly what you are going to with your new found time.
You can change—anyone can.
Whatever it is you want to change, you can do it. Change can be difficult—it can at times appear impossible—but by focusing on your daily patterns of behaviour and taking things slow and not trying to do too much at once, you will soon start to see and feel the benefits. Positive change in life not only improves the quality of your life, it also enhances your feelings of happiness, accomplishment, and fulfilment as well as improving your self-discipline and natural energy levels. There are so many reasons for you to begin making positive changes in your life, the only question left is: when are you going to start?
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