Uh-oh. Not sure, are you? Hoping everyone else has forgotten that you swore this was the year you would lose weight/stop smoking/start working out/save money/insert-your-resolution-here aren’t you?
Take heart, if you didn’t spend the last 21 days working on the new and improved you, all is not lost. Twenty-one days is the amount of time generally considered necessary to establishing a new habit. It doesn’t matter if you got stuck on Day 2, 4 or 12… tomorrow is a new Day 1! (If you’re feeling really ambitious, make today your new Day 1.)
If taking another crack at that New Year’s resolution seems impossible, changing your focus could help. Trying to become the “new you” overnight isn’t likely to be successful. Breaking the original desire into smaller, more achievable goals can make a drastic, or not-so-drastic, life change more palatable.
Create steps. Want to work out more? Plan just 1-2 short workouts per week for the first month, then increase your goal to 2-3 activities per week the second month and so on. Want to lose weight? Make one small change in your diet the first week, add another change the next. Want to stop smoking? Decrease the frequency of your smoke breaks over time or commit to waiting 5-10 minutes longer before you give in and light up. Small positive steps will encourage you to continue in the right direction.
See success. Continually visualize yourself completing each step of the process and make a plan for the next six to twelve months so you know where you are headed next.
Write it down. Start a journal or tack a note on the fridge. Re-read your your goals daily. Start your day with reflection on what you are doing and why.
Forgive yourself. Even if you didn’t stick to the original plan, don’t erase your progress by quitting. Get “back on the horse” and pick up where you left off. The good vibes generated when you are back on track will be greater than the disappointment of the setback.
Find a friend. Chances are, someone you know has taken up the same challenge; join forces to compare notes and you’ll both be more successful. Discuss your goals with a supportive partner or friend. Ask them to check in with you periodically to gauge progress.
Join the crowd. Community support groups abound for everything under the sun. Hospitals and clinics offer classes and programs for health and wellness goals. Commit to running a race or giving a speech on how tackled your resolution. Choose a public way to showcase your success and don’t back out.
Be a follower. Don’t like to get personal? Follow a blog or website related to your goal. Lurk in the shadows until you are comfortable sharing the positive results you are seeing. Find what works for you.
Happy January 23rd, here’s to Day 1!