Recently I came across a quote that went something along the lines of “you are just one small decision away from the life you want. You need simply to decide to do something, or not to do something.” I can’t recall where I saw it, or who said it and I’m sure I am paraphrasing it heavily, but you get the idea. Anyway, it has been bouncing around my head for a while now and I got to thinking about how this is the time of year where we often make resolutions to do things differently in the year ahead.
I don’t know about you, but I usually decide at this time of year to be healthier, work out more, actually use the piles of make-up I have amassed etc… etc… And yet, every year I fall at pretty much the first hurdle and vow to start again next January 1st! So what is the secret to creating lasting change? Those changes that will bring us closer to the life we imagine?
As I reflected on the year past and what I want to achieve in the year ahead, it came to me that it is often not the decision, the resolution that is the problem, but our approach to actually implementing it. We start with great enthusiasm (and usually an expensive gym membership too) but enthusiasm alone is not enough to tide us through the difficult period of change and maintain the persistence required to make the changes sustainable.
So, back to our decision then – to do something, or not to do something – perhaps it is not then about the decision we make, but how we implement that decision. For example, instead of jumping straight in with an aspiration of spending an hour at the gym every morning, we could just try going to the gym for ten minutes three times a week. Then build on that by a few minutes each week. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how the hardest part of creating a new habit is actually starting it. Once we have the beginning of the new habit in place, it becomes easier to build on that.
So how does this help us then? Well, perhaps look at those aspirations you have for the coming year and break them down into smaller parts, parts that can be easily achieved at first as you establish them as habits and then go from there.
The other thing that significantly increases our chances of doing what we decide to do (or not to do) is telling people about it. That way we make a commitment and make ourselves accountable to others. It is soooo much harder to ditch a resolution if we have told people we are doing it. Take for example ‘Dry January’ where millions of people opt into a month long detox after the Christmas and New Year excesses and usually raise money for charity while they do it. How bad would we feel if we fell off the wagon when we were supporting our chosen charity?
There are loads more ways to start putting into action those decisions that will take you closer to the life you want, but that’s it for now… you’ll have to check out my next blog if you’d like insights on how to visualise your success and increase your chances of achieving it!
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