New Year Resolution – FLOP?

 “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”

Henry Ford (1863-1947), American founder of the Ford Motor Company.

 

A new years’ resolution is the desire to want to change something about you or your lifestyle in order to improve it. The start of new beginnings provokes a commitment to really stick at new habits and reduce the old habits that may have led you to the point of feeling unsatisfied with the results you are currently experiencing.

 

Common New Years resolutions include quitting smoking; improving your health and well being; climbing the career ladder; organising your home life; paying off your debts; losing weight; being more confident… the list is endless. My list was rather long and admittedly, unrealistic to commit to – this much was obvious after the first day!

 

The one habit I have decided to form is to get eco-educated. There is a welcome ripple effect with this change of lifestyle, and as one habit begins to take hold, a natural progression occurs and I find myself automatically discovering new ways of living a better life, which supports my health and well being. So, the journey has begun from Miss Brooke to Eco Chic! After getting off to a bad start (then the dreaded ‘healing crises’) I have finally embraced this new flow of life. How long before I err is currently unknown, but by following the guide below, I am much more likely to succeed.

 

HAVE YOU SUCCESSFULLY STUCK TO YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTION?

Be honest… If you answered no, that is acceptable, you have not failed. In fact the first step you should take during January is not implementing your changes immediately, but to plan and prepare yourself for the lifestyle changes you are about to commit to.  As a rule, there is a key to changing a habit. Let me give you an insight to the Cycle of Change –Prochaska and DiClemente http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transtheoretical_model written December 2011.

 

Pre-contemplation

Throughout 2011 you obliviously formed habits, unaware that they were problematic and with no desire to take steps to make changes in the near future.

How to succeed: Try not to ignore or justify a bad habit. The key is to have everything in moderation. 

Try not to become addicted or dependent on a certain thing, thought or habit too often.

 

Contemplation

A fresh start to the year may force you to think about the things that have gotten out of control. You may have been avoiding facing them or ignoring them. You begin to think about the benefits of a lifestyle change.

How to succeed: I cannot stress enough, just how important it is to PLAN. Prepare yourself, prepare your friends and family, prpare your surroundings and prepare solutions for potential failure.

 

Action

The clock strikes twelve. Ding-dong – time for action. Only problem is you are not in a fit state to make changes with a hangover! Nor can you avoid that slap-up New Year meal, with guests to impress and shops closed… just how do you begin with your ‘new you resolutions’ under the influence of commercialism and indulgence?

How to succeed: Remember, preparation is key. In order to act out a new habit you must be armed with strategies to avoid temptation, habitual rituals, obstacles, urges and saboteurs. There are a whole army of negative influences out there ready to undermine you. Be well equipped with a force of willpower and consistency. Use this first couple of weeks to plan and prepare. By being too hasty, you risk failing before you even begin.

 

Maintenance

When you have committed to change for at least six months, the resolution will become permanent. However, because we are creatures of habit, failing to maintain is to be expected. Our bodies are conditioned to think and act a certain way. Some of the things our brain is wired to want or need are (1) – partly due to our genes and characteristics and (2) – being forced upon us by the media and other influential factors.

How to succeed: Understand one thing, every failed attempt is a step closer to success. No matter how small the changes you make are, praise and love yourself. The fact that you have gotten from pre-contemplation to contemplation is worth merit. Do not rush… after all; if it took you five years to form a bad habit, you cannot expect to alter that in just five days.

 

Planning strategy

Attempt ONE commitment at a time and think it through, write your:

·          Reasons and motivators for wanting to change

·          Likely obstacles (find a solution before they arrive)

·          Triggers for failure (find deterrents before you are hit with temptation)

·          Official start date (tell everybody, make a big deal, blog about it, psyche yourself)

·          Incentive period and reward (short term and long term)

 

I would be interested to know how you are getting on with your New Year resolutions. Do you have any suggestions to make changing a bad habit less difficult? Maybe you succeeded after many attempts and would like to share your story. Best of luck for the year ahead and stay determined.

 

P.S. On my journey for 2012, I am anticipating many fascinating discoveries and look forward to sharing them with you. So far I am doing well with my New Year resolution as have spent about six weeks preparing for it. In the beginning it was rocky but after the 5th day I realised just why I wanted to change, and I can safely say that I am reaping the benefits already. Be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms, these are to be expected, they will pass! Stay positive J

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”

Aristotle quotes (Ancient Greek PhilosopherScientist and Physician, 384 BC-322 BC)