As the new year rolls around, the usual reflections take place. Did I lose those 10 pounds? Did I eat healthily? Did I achieve my professional goals? Did I spend time with friends and family? We have all been there. Set our new year resolutions for the changes we want to see in our lives, just to find that we lose motivation and give up not too soon after. In 2019, to make it your best year yet, try instead changing “how you change”. By changing the process of how you engage new behaviors, you can create lasting habits that lead to a happier and healthier you. Developing the mindsets and behaviors that enable you to achieve your goals will allow you to best attain them.
What does your best self look like?
A focus on what being your best self looks like is a good place to start. This does not mean just in the physical sense, but in a holistic sense, including emotionally and mentally. You can start by writing down all of your goals. Here, it is critical that you are specific! For example, instead of saying “be healthier” or “lose weight”, break it down into what this means behaviorally, such as “working out once a week”. You could end up with several little things, but write them all down.
What is achievable?
Now, ask yourself if each one is achievable for you. The goal may be challenging, but it cannot be unachievable as this is the fast track to losing motivation and giving up. Look at each one and ask yourself, am I able to do this? Do I have the skills? Do I have the time? What would I need to change to be able to do this and can I do that? Mark each one as achievable or not.
Which one will you focus on first?
Now, pick just one of these behaviors, and this is where you start. By focusing on just one, you are more likely to achieve it and create a sustained life change. As you implement this behavior it is important to:
- Reflect: regularly reflect if you are implementing the behavior or not. This helps you keep on track. When you do not, ask yourself why. This can lead to insights to help you change course as needed and remove barriers that are hindering you. For example, if you said you wanted to eat a salad every day for lunch, then found you didn’t for three out of the five weekdays, you may find out it is because you didn’t have time to make it in the morning. In this case, you may want to start meal prep to help you.
- Forgive yourself: as we try and create new habits we can experience moments of failure. In these moments ask yourself why you failed, forgive yourself, and move on. Getting stuck in a cycle of rumination and negative thoughts only hinders your progress.
- Take accountability: You can read all the advice you want, however, in reality, to create the changes you want to see, you have to put in the work and actually take the action’s needed.
Do not forget mental wellbeing
To make 2019 a year in which you truly thrive, make time to focus on your mental wellbeing. According to the Global Wellness Institute, “wellness for the mind is on the cusp of a meteoric transformation” and “mental wellness will form a new wellness category”. Even with the best of health and fitness regimes, stress and our emotional wellbeing can cause us to feel negatively and hinder our progress or goals.
So, in 2019 make it a point to internally feel good, by focusing on your emotional wellbeing and happiness. The key here is driving congruence between your values, your behaviors, relationships, and work. Instead of just asking yourself what you want to do for 2019, ask yourself who you want to be. What are those 3-5 words that you want others to describe you by? Then just spend a couple of minutes every day asking yourself:
- What made you feel negatively or positively and why? So that you become more aware of your emotions.
- Were your behaviors in alignment to your values? As when we feel emotions such as guilt, it can be an indicator that we have behaved in a way that conflicts with our values.
- How did the people you interacted with make you feel and why? As when we feel angry or frustrated, it can be an indicator that someone has offended our values.
- What is one thing you can do differently tomorrow to move you towards living your most authentic you? As making small changes leads to sustained positive habits.
One thing is for sure, those that cultivate the behaviors that make them resilient, help them manage their stress, and enable them to live as their authentic selves are set to thrive.