The beginning of a new year! And a new beginning? Hands up who’s trying to turn over a new leaf 🙋♀️
Keep your hand up if it’s more grind than grin. 🙋♀️
I hear you.
I’m not sure that January is really a great time to be trying to begin anew, so to speak. It’s cold and dark and we’re all sluggish from the Christmas season. Trying to “be good” feels like a bit of a struggle.
However, now that I may have just inspired in you a feeling of “why am I bothering at all?”, let me follow on by suggesting that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
I can assure you that any positive attention you’re putting on your health and well-being right now is absolutely worth it and I really want you to be able to feel motivated and empowered to continue that focus past 31 Jan with a grin (not the “thank God that grind’s over” relapse to old habits).
Let me share with you the two essential factors to create new habits that I use myself and help my clients to do the same. You could think of them as bags of magic fairy dust that you must scatter along your path to create the golden bricks beneath your feet (and keep whatever lurks to trip you up safely out of sight).
1. Take it easy
One of the main reasons why improving our well-being can feel so hard is because we make the goal too big. Launching yourself full throttle into a January of giving up sugar, losing weight or getting fit, for example, might very well send you head-on into a high speed collision with a wall of failure, disappointment and self-chastising that you just can’t do it four weeks later.
I can say with absolute certainty that big wins never come from big actions.
Big wins are entirely a result of accumulating small wins consistently over time.
Your success is so much more likely if you map out a plan that takes you to March and start with consistently achieving the smallest possible thing you could do towards it in January.
2. Find the joy
If you still have your hand in the air from before, keep it up if you’re someone who is motivated by deprivation, resistance and sacrifice. All hands down, I’ll bet.
To positively affect change and embed it into our lives we need to see progress and rewards; the spark of hope that keeps us on the right track. Acknowledging any progress we make towards our goals is useful.
This could be as simple as writing one line in a journal at the end of each day “I am proud of myself for doing xxx today in support of my focus on yyy” or sharing your progress with a friend on a walk in a local green space (and sure, isn’t that hitting two birds with one stone?!)
It’s crucial to take the time to recognise our small positive steps in a deliberate way.
Rather than letting it go unacknowledged and moving on with the next thing on our to-do list.
Celebrating the small wins really helps us to feel good about what we’re doing and keeps our focus on the journey to the goal front and centre. When we create our own joyful experience in our new habits through our self-pats on the back we are also encouraging ourselves to repeat them. In this way it also helps us to shape the decisions we make so that, bit by bit, we shift our way of thinking and our behaviours to better support where we want to end up.
If you like the sound of this and would like help getting that structure in place then reach out to me to chat about where you’re getting stuck and what you could do to feel better.
Through my personalised health and well-being programmes I provide my clients with individually-tailored diet and lifestyle guidance and the accountability they need to move away from feeling low, tired and crabby; carrying aches, pains and weight and create a life with more energy, less aches and pains, a calmer mind and a good mood. Read about their experiences here.