So it’s getting to that time of the year again. The Christmas tree is up, party season has begun and you are wistfully looking back on 2017 and all it offered. In the midst of this, you might even be casting one eye towards 2018. Once the guilt, the fear and all of the turkey has passed you will most likely start the same process as you do every year. New Year…New Me.
This year is going to be different though, I swear. I’m really going to get my shi* together this year. I’m getting fit, I’m going to launch that new business, push for that promotion and maybe even start learning Spanish.
How many years is this now? So what is going to be different this year? It’s quite clear your current approach isn’t working. As humans, we have a distorted way of thinking. We think that in the future we will be happier, wealthier and fitter. This is not based on what we will actually do to achieve this, or have a process in place. Madness ,I say. I’m all for setting goals. Write them down, read them every day and have someone hold you accountable to what you say you will do. This is a great start, but unfortunately when your enthusiasm and willpower begin to wane you will most likely give up, or look for the next shiny thing to pursue.
Change in any area requires conscious effort every day. As we run most of our days on auto pilot this becomes a bigger challenge. Duke University conducted a study that found habits account for about 40% of our behaviours every day. This is wonderful news if your habits are bringing you in the exact direction you want. As Rob Gilbert famously stated, “First we form habits, then they form us”
If your autopilot is going to crash you into the side of a mountain, then you need to explore how you can take back control.
The key here is developing micro habits that will lead to achieving your goals over a period of time. These are tiny actions you can take every day that seem so small that you can’t say no. Removing the mental barrier to starting is crucial. If you were only going to commit to one push up per day, you couldn’t possibly say you didn’t have the energy. If you were only going to read one page of a book per day, or take one mindful deep breath, you couldn’t say you didn’t have time. Make it so easy that you can’t bail on yourself. Some days you will just do one and carry on with your day. Success. Other days you will get in a groove and blast out way more. Also a success. No matter what area of your life, or business, you are looking to make change in, look at one tiny habit you can develop to bring you towards this. Once you have mastered one per day, you can ramp it up to five, ten or fifty.
I know what you are thinking now. That’s great, Einstein, but how am I going to remember when to do this? Alas I came prepared. This is the important part of the equation. You must tie this new habit in with something you currently do every day. Brush your teeth, go to the toilet, wash your hands, stop at a red light, put your head on the pillow at night, etc. This then will be the trigger to remind you of your new behaviour. The formula is really simple…
After I (current behaviour…i.e. brush my teeth)
I will (new habit…i.e. do one push up)
You might need to keep a reminder in your bathroom for the first week or two until the habit takes hold. After this your subconscious will automatically kick in to remind you. I have been experimenting with these over the past few months and they work a treat. You know your current method doesn’t work, so why not give this a go. Don’t wait until January to start, get cracking today. If you are looking to make serious change going forward drop me a line as I have a limited number of spaces for online coaching clients in the new year. Thank you for reading this year and for all of the generous feedback I have received. It genuinely means a lot. Have a wonderful Christmas.
Ciao for now – John
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