By Jenni Donato
Did it go well? Not really? Don’t panic, you’re not alone!
The problem with resolutions is that we only have a certain amount of will power and when we run out, well, it’s cake time on the sofa again!
So how do we make lasting change that lasts?
We’ve all heard the basics, setting achievable and manageable goals, giving ourselves the credit when we achieve along the way, but what does this actually mean? Well, in short it means we need to pace ourselves. Start by setting small mini-goals we know we can achieve, write them down and tick them off as we go. This will allow us to celebrate when we succeed, no matter how small to start with. We then get that all important sense of achievement, which is the key to success. This feeling of achievement propels us forward, making it easier (and more fun) to keep taking those baby steps towards our overarching goal.
"Start by setting small mini-goals we know we can achieve"
Studies have shown if we stick to something for more than a month, we will start to become emotionally invested in the activity and it will start to become a natural routine, beginning to feel more like second nature. And after all, isn’t this what we really want? No-one wants to be thin just for a while, only to fall off the wagon and be back to square one by the time the bikini weather arrives!
If we take the ‘go big or go home’ attitude, a month will be a very long time and the likelihood we’ll still be ‘going’ in Spring will be small. But by starting small, with the aim of just getting into good habits, time will not only go quicker, what we set ourselves will actually be easier and more fun. We will also not beat ourselves up quite so much about the times when things don’t go exactly to plan.
“If we stick to something for more than a month, we will start to become emotionally invested in the activity and it will start to become a natural routine”
So how would this apply to something more complex like finding a new job, or finding love? Well, the same principle applies. 1) Make a plan. 2) Decide on some mini-goals to get started and 3) keep taking those baby steps towards the bigger plan, celebrating along the way. If we look at the example of taking a complete career shift this could mean starting in week 1 by simply researching the industry we want to move into and making connections with people to find out more. Week 2 could be finding out about all the qualifications we would need and how long these would take. Week 3 could be thinking about our finances and how we could cover the cost of training and the transition between careers. Week 4 could be chatting to our nearest and dearest about what they think and/or how they could help actually make the jump. By then, we’ve already hit the magic month milestone and we will be more (or less if we’ve decided it’s not right for us) emotionally invested in the idea and the whole plan won’t seem so alien. We can then re-plan and start by setting more mini-goals on how to actually go forward and actually make the shift.
All this sounds simple but there are a few key factors which can’t be overlooked. Firstly, the bigger goal must be one we are emotionally invested in wanting to achieve, for us and only us, i.e. it must be something WE actually want to achieve. Secondly, we must write down our mini-goals and actually plan how we are going to achieve them, keeping things in our head very rarely works and we may never know if we’ve achieved anything! And finally, we must celebrate our journey along the way, without the feeling of actually moving forward and allowing ourselves the credit we deserve we will never stick at anything, because, after all, without the feel good factor what’s the point?
So, buy a new notepad, start small, write down your own baby steps along the way – and tick them off – and see what you can achieve by spring!
Jenni Donato is an award-winning life and mindset coach, helping women from all backgrounds to overcome challenges, rediscover their confidence and live the life they want. Due to a difficult stage in her life (read more at www.chancecoaching.com/my-story) she has set up her business as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and has now committed to using the profits to provide emotional support and coaching to mothers with children with additional needs or disabilities.