Another New Year is upon us. You’ve probably got lots of grand plans for change. We all know that every year we start out with good intentions and within a few weeks the drive and motivation diminishes. If you are ready to make a lasting change that positively impacts your life, get the ball rolling with a well thought out plan for change. The first thing I recommend is look at what you want in your life right now. The second is to pick one habit that you could change or create within the next 21 days. Experts say that it takes a minimum of 21 days to change a behavior. Are you ready to make a commitment to change? Now, let’s get started creating a successful plan to create one new habit in 21 days:
• Imagine what your life would look like with this new habit. What would you have then that you don’t have now? Visualize what you want for yourself so that you can create it right now. Your ongoing, passionate connection to a clear vision will help you stay motivated to take steps everyday to create what you want.
• Write down the benefits of creating this new habit and your willingness to make the necessary changes. Be honest. What was your motivation for the change? What was your attitude at the time? Your level of readiness to change will determine how successful you are, and how much time it will take. But you need to be ready, able and willing to make change happen in 21 days.
• Identify goals that will support your new habit. Write them down on a calendar or daily planner. Jot down all the tasks and activities (steps) that will support your goals over the next 21 days. Be specific. Use action verbs. Let your goals have measurable outcomes. Specify completion dates. Also record what your reward will be for achieving the goal and read it every morning and night. This will help you to be more committed to creating a new habit as each day passes.
• Eliminate roadblocks that could impede your success. There are always roadblocks to overcome as we move towards creating new habits. Select one roadblock to work on at a time. For every negative message you encounter, turn it into a positive one. For example, “I‘m going to fail” can turn into “I have everything that I need to succeed”. It takes practice daily to be successful.
• Build a support network and enlist family, friends and like-minded people who can help move you towards the first steps to what you want to achieve. Establish a discussion group and meet in person, on the phone or online with individuals where you can share common concerns and feelings.
• If your life is already too full and you don’t have time to add anything else, which is the case for most people, take a closer look at how you spend your time on an average day. Record your daily activity. Free up some time you might not have known existed and incorporate your goals into your daily life.
• Write down a few paragraphs describing what you’ve accomplished, and how your life is better as a result, challenge yourself. Strive to create even more new habits. Make simple changes first and then take a look at the things that are harder and that require the most change to achieve your desired results. Tackle them one at a time. Make lasting changes to your lifestyle and reward yourself each step of the way.
Start right now! Over the next 21 days: make a commitment to yourself to identify one new habit that you can create successfully—and start doing it! Explore ways to integrate your goals for your new habit with your current obligations and take those first steps into the New Year with renewed desire and commitment.