It’s that time of year where we reflect on the year gone by and think of the future, it’s easy to get seduced into the dreaded New Year Resolutions. I’ve just unfollowed someone on Instagram because they were posting about the Miracle Morning book, if you’ve not heard of it, it’s a dreadful wellness book, sharing tips of the rich and famous and their morning routines, it usually involves waking up earlier and earlier, and the meditating, exercising, journaling, building an orphanage, solving world peace and then a spot of breakfast before heading off to work.
There is so much stuff out there that isn’t based on any real evidence about how we can improve ourselves. But do you know what? That chances are YOU ARE GREAT! You have a real life with real friends and real food and real wobbly bits and real habits. Of course we can always improve, but remember January 1st is just another day. You can make changes on the 3rd Jan or the 31st Jan or even February , March or even November!
The common myths out there are
1)The Yale Goal Setting Study, or should I say Story, because it’s exactly that, a story. If you‘ve never heard of it, researchers went to Yale and asked who had written down goals, they then followed them up years later and the 10% with written goals were earning the combined income of the other 90%, it’s a compelling reason for having written goals, well it would be if the study happened, but so far no one has ever been able to find the research.
2) It takes 3 weeks to form a new habit, this was based on a plastic surgeon, Dr Maltz’s observations on how long it look people to get used to seeing their surgery, but it has been used for years, mainly by the same people who believe the Yale story to tell people they can transform their lives in 3 weeks, appealing isn’t it? I’ve been learning French on Duolingo now for 338 days. I have done at least 5 min every day, is it a habit yet..... Nope it still need the reminders to do it.
A more ore useful way of looking at The stages of change model by Prochaska and DiClemente. This has 6 stages
This models takes someone from not feeling like they have a problem through to making a change and most importantly relapse is part of the process.
This is is so important as most new year resolutions don’t make it to the end of January. So if you do want to make a sustained change plan what you will do if you slip up, life gets in the way of perfect routines and it would be really boring if it didn’t .
Think about WHY you want to make a change, tap into that rather than some idea of being a super human
Look to make small changes, you’re more likely to succeed if it’s manageable, if it’s all massively time consuming you will struggle to fit it in
Plan what you will do when you struggle to fit your new habit in or if you are giving something up, plan what you will do if you have a relapse. One sneaky puff on a cigaret doesn’t mean you have to go back to smoking 20 a day
If it’s a small thing you want to do each day try to tie it in with something you do automatically like after lunch or brushing your teeth.
Reward yourself for each achievement, life is a journey not a destination.
Most importantly, make the resolutions for you, if you feel pressured by friends, media, Instagram you can just politely decline and remind yourself that you are wonderful !