With 2012 newly upon us, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Or you may have already
made and broken them!
Whatever you want to achieve this year – whether your goals are health, family, or business-oriented – operating the same old habits will give you the same old results. Most of what we do every day is habit, and habits repeated over and over become hard-wired connections in the brain, making it hard for us to behave differently.
It’s often said that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Research has shown that when patients have a limb amputated it can take up to 21 days before the connections in the brain rewired to recognize that the limb is no longer there.
Well the good news is it doesn’t take 21 days to change a habit. You can change a habit straightaway – but only if you want to of course. Take the example of smoking – people might struggle to give up smoking until they hear that their life depends on it and they are then able to quit immediately. That’s because they suddenly have a big enough reason to change.
If you want to make a change for the better and are willing to make it stick, here are 3 tips to help:
1. Micro-changes get you there
If I were coaching someone to lose 20 kilos, the first step would be simply to put your running shoes by the front door. It gets your mind prepared for action, and the task is so small you can not fail. This sets you up for success in every task. Tomorrow you’ll walk round the house in your running shoes, the next day walk to your letter box… A series of tiny steps will get you there quicker than big ones you can not maintain.
2. Swap rather giving up
Always swap one behaviour for another one, otherwise you’ll experience a void. If you always turn on the TV as soon as you get in and you want to change that habit, replace the action with another; for example, turn on the stereo.
3. Focus on ‘More Good’ rather than ‘Less Bad’
Adding some good habits is easier than removing bad ones, so start there. If health is your goal, add 15 minutes of walking to your day before you tackle giving up the food you love. 15 minutes? Is that really going to make much difference??
The answer is YES. 15 minutes of anything 5 days a week adds up to 60 hours in a year. What could you do with 60 hours a year?
’Til we speak again, here’s to your unlimited potential.