|Posted on 2 November, 2021 at 5:15|
Does this seems familiar? January 1st, all fired up with good New Year intentions, you decide you are going to exercise, eat more healthily, read more, learn an language…
You try to change everything at once and it all gets too much. You go to the gym a few times then decide you don’t like that environment and getting fit sort of goes out of the window. Or you decide that meditating first thing in the morning would be beneficial, but it is all too rushed and meditation falls by the wayside. For many of us, by mid January all our good intentions have disappeared like an ice cream in a heatwave.
Talking with clients, one of the problems is that, for instance, you have your mind set on one thing - say lifting weights - and when that doesn’t work out or feel right for you, that’s when the “give up” gene kicks in, often followed by its close friend, the failure gene.
So here’s a trick I’ve used with clients (and myself). Use November and December for test runs. For example, say you want to get fit. Use the 8 weeks before the New Year to try out different types of exercise. What suits your personality best? Which activity do you enjoy most? Do you prefer being on your own or working in a group class? What time of day/week suits you best? You may think after work is best and there is a class near you. But if you are always exhausted at the end of the day and just want to get home, chances are you will find any excuse to get out of the class. Maybe you need to get up earlier in the morning to work out in your living room; or go for a lunchtime swim?
I’ve used exercise as the example, but it could be about learning a new skill or starting to write your novel. If you want to change your diet, it could be when you try out different foods, recipes, etc. When I wanted to listen to more podcasts, I wondered when I would get the time to get into the habit. Before the New Year began, I played around with times: during lunch? This ran into coaching time.. At the end of the day? I was often attending events. I played around with several times and in the end, I found that best for me was in the morning whilst getting ready for the day.
You can’t always change habits overnight or even find the right thing straightway. By doing some experimenting for a few weeks with new routines, tools, etc., you can give yourself a better chance to hit the ground running in the New Year and succeeding in your new habits.