If you’re gym is jammed, hang in there and it will soon return to normal. Why? It’s that time of year when people make commitments they won’t keep. Whether you want to increase business, stop yelling at your kids or put more well into your being, here’s what you need to know to make it happen for real, not just on paper.
Although speaking of paper, write down what you do want to accomplish. Study after study shows the power of not just thinking it, but inking it. When I worked for sales guru Brian Tracy, he suggested we commit a few minutes each morning to re-writing our goal down in the form of a positive affirmation. No matter what happened the day before, that morning ritual was a way of enjoying the art of a fresh start. (If you want to know what a SMART goal or positive affirmation sounds and looks like, use my other brain, Google, to collect this info.)
Dare to share. When we out ourselves, we’re more likely to follow through so tell like-minded friends, family and colleagues your intentions. Notice the emphasis on the word, like-minded. Avoid sharing with anyone who will sabotage you given their own agenda.
Start small. I don’t care if you want to make one more outgoing call, walk 5 minutes in one direction and turnaround, get up and hug family when they return home, power off during dinner or power on with one less cup of caffeine. Everything counts, and our daily choices make the difference. Starting small and having success creates momentum.
Start already. Who says diets have to start on Monday? Trust me I understand that thinking. I wasn’t 50 lbs. overweight for years without owning that belief, but now I realize everyday can be the perfect day to begin.
Substitute habits. When you change a behavior, substitute, rather than eliminate a habit to up your odds of success. For example, if you normally snack at 3pm, rather than cut yourself off completely find a healthier alternative. I still reach for Jolly Time Fat Free popcorn when I want to mow through a row of Thin Mints (what an oxymoron).
Get Real and Heal. You’re never going to get what you really want until you get honest about why you’re getting in your own way. When you shove stuff down, it slows you down and eventually you stop. To truly accomplish your goals, you’ve got to feel, deal and heal. If not, you’ll eventually float back to old habits and behaviors. Just look at Oprah, or for that matter me after my 2010 Holiday Farewell to Food Tour. Like you, I had too much going on this past month. Even though I scaled back dramatically and spent quality time with family and friends, I still felt the pressure of not doing “enough” in my business and found myself reaching for food. And it wasn’t popcorn! Yea, I know I need to practice what I preach, so I dealt with some stuff and am back on track.
Get Support. Perhaps you need a great ear (therapist, friend), great group (Weight Watchers, AA) or great individual (coach, personal trainer) to help you along. Remember, one of my favorite sayings is Ask and You Shall Succeed. We often forget we need to ask others to support us through personal growth and change. Put your pride on the side and ask.
Change takes time. I used to believe and teach, based on what I heard and read, that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This is false. I’ve done the research, and this theory started because a doctor noticed an amputee took around 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb. Newer research studied 96 people and noticed, on average, the participants took about 66 days to make a habit automatic. I’ve been dealing with NOT putting too much food in my mouth for over 30 years, so my theory is a new habit doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens more easily when you take action daily to keep your focus and momentum.