What do you want to change for next year? What could you do without? What bugs you? What makes you feel really truly glum? What part of your life do you want some about-turn dazzle? There are these changes we want to make and yet, the new habits don’t seem to stick. The implementation is runny. The ideas are soft around the edges. How do we get our sh*t together?
1. You’ve got to want it.
Number 1. If you are doing it because someone else wants it, it’s unlikely to happen. Or stick. If you don’t feel like you want it, work out how you’ll feel if you never do it. Or don’t ‘get around’ to it for another 10 years. How will THAT make you feel? Indifferent? Leave this change and go for one you really want first. The one that’s causing the most grief. It might be the stone in the shoe or the colour of the toothpaste holder. Whatever you WANT to change first.
2. Money gives it va va voom!
This is why I love coaching. Because when you’re paying someone to help you change, it’s got meaning. Soul. Heart-money. Suddenly, you WANT it to actually work so you’re energy is all there. But consider carefully how and where you invest. Take your time. Whether it’s a gym instructor, an acupuncturist or a new carpet there is always another option to look at.
3. Watch your patterns.
The ‘easy’ food in the supermarket appears one hundred times more easy when you’re wandering aimlessly through the aisles because you’re tired. Hunger and ’25 minutes in the oven’ is an easy answer. Know this and be ready for it. If you want to start cooking from scratch, pick a recipe and have the five ingredients you need to pick up on a list to pull out before you get to the shop. And tell yourself you need to chop things for anger management (hey, it works for me).
4. When you fail, be your first cheerleader
Ingraining new habits, new ways of living, thinking, breathing, eating…it all takes time. We so easily fall for the final hurdle of change, that is: we are ferocious with ourselves when we get it wrong. We’re LEARNING! Give us a break. We have to get it wrong to reaffirm our intentions, adapt, retry, amend and achieve. 'That’s ok, you’re doing well’ is the best self-talk line - it’s gentle and appropriate. We want love and kindness not a stick and a detention.
5. Work out how you want to feel
What will this change bring you? How will the ‘you with the change’ feel when it’s all so natural and easy? When the ‘thing’ (read: attained 10 stone, broken up with girlfriend, quit the 6 committees) has happened, how do you WANT to feel? Keep this in mind for when your motivation wanders off. We seek the feeling, that's why we want the change.
Change has its challenges. But it has its delightful rewards: its sweet pleasure of achievement, its wonder at our own capacity, its realisation that it’s getting us nearer our dream.