Every year at this time I am asked about what resolutions I intend to make for the new year.
I, like many of you, have promised myself that I “Must” change certain behaviors that are not indigenous to a happy, healthy life many times over the years. Unfortunately the word “must” imposes a boot camp mentality that feels like a forced march.
Changing our behavior is one of the hardest things we can choose to do. Our patterns are so ingrained that it takes a jackhammer to loosen them. Personal transformation isn’t concrete; rather, it’s a culmination of many smaller changes. You didn’t gain weight , become unfit, or get stressed out overnight. You did it over a period of time. Take that into consideration, and try to reverse the process in the same way you created the problem.
The 21st century has produced a plethora of marketing tools that promise the consumer fast and easy ways to change behaviors, and a lot of people have bought into it. But in order to have lasting results,” slow and easy” wins the race. One of the wisest ways to transition from where you are to where you want to be is to do it in baby steps. Every small step you take towards becoming healthier and more fit is one that leads you towards your goal. When you follow this mind-set, you’ll have a much greater chance of reaching your goals.
Here are five benefits to taking baby steps:
1. Make gradual changes to allow your underlying beliefs to shift with you. Remember everyone lives with thinking models that oppose one another. I call it “twisted Sister and the Fairy Godmother.” Your fairy godmother wants the best for you, but your twisted sister is always there to give you a good dose of fear and reasons why you shouldn’t rock the boat. But every small action you take encourages you to become stronger.
2. Take small steps to give the people around you a chance to adjust.
3. Don’t say too much about what your plans are for change. You don’t want people saying, “Oh I’ve heard that before”.
4. Make it a game. Becoming healthy and happy doesn’t have to become an internal war. Try to make it fun.
5. Don’t focus on past failures and what might not happen. It only creates more of the same. Write down what you want and how it will manifest a better life; see it in your mind’s eye; and practice, practice, practice. Eventually your behavior will catch up.
Most importantly enjoy the process.