I hope you took time to relax over the holidays. I celebrated with many delicious meals, visits with friends, and even made a quick trip out to Kah-Nee-Ta to “take the waters”, as they say. I feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to get back to work!
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? What do you think is the likelihood that you will be where you want to be this time next year? Studies show that almost half of us make New Year’s resolutions (the most popular ones for 2017 are to get in shape and get organized), yet only 14% of those over 50 achieve their goals. The reason for this is not as simple as we think.
So what is the key to lasting positive changes?
Step one: Ask yourself, “What is my internal motivation?”
We often make the mistake of letting others set goals for us, i.e. my wife wants me to eat healthier. If you don’t feel internal motivation to change, you likely will not succeed, and you and your wife will both feel disappointed.
Step two: Figure out your action steps.
One of my favorite books is Charles Duhigg’s The Power Of Habit. He argues the key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. By changing patterns we can change our lives. He says by changing one “keystone habit”, we change our behavior and create a domino effect that leads to success.
Step Three: Focus on the positive!
Can you focus on the things that are under your control, and think of your new lifestyle changes in a positive way? For example, this month I am taking a break from sugar and alcohol (thanks to Michelle for this idea). For me, this means no white sugar (cookies, pie, etc). My diet will primarily be healthy, whole foods, including protein and lots of veggies with every meal. Instead of focusing on the things on my “no” list, I am planning my meals around the healthy things I love to eat. I love satsumas, and one of my ladies brought me a bag of these beauties last week (thanks Sian!). I have them in a pretty bowl in a prominent place, so when I want a sweet treat I reach for one of these.
I have also started a “happy jar”. When a good thing happens I am writing it down and sticking a note in the jar. I will open the jar on New Years day 2018 to be reminded of all the good things that happened this year. Feel free to contribute to my jar when you are here.
Instead of “resolutions”, I am declaring my intentions for 2017. I intend to get stronger, and I will do a full pull up from hanging by my birthday in June. The next time you see, me ask me how I’m progressing.
What small steps could you take this month to get where you want to be in three months, six months or a year? Could you write down one positive change you’d like to make, the motivation behind that change, and the actions steps needed to get there? For example, “I want to feel good” is vague. “I want to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly through the night, so that I have energy during the day to work, exercise and play with my family” is more specific and based on internal motivation.
Your action steps could be:
- I will take my last cup of coffee before noon.
- Take care of any unfinished business with friends or family via phone call or text after dinner.
- Turn off my computer/ phone by 8 pm.
- Repeat a daily mantra, such as, “I sleep soundly and peacefully”. If I do wake up in the night I will jot down any to do lists, tasks, or ideas on a notepad, repeat my mantra and close my eyes.
I would love to hear about your hopes and dreams for 2017! How can I help you craft a 2017 success plan? Would a weekly email or text from me help you stay on track? Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017!