With the beginning of the new year many of us are embarking on new routines. We’re doing our best to eat healthy, exercise, enact (or rededicate ourselves to) solid business practices, etc. Change is good. It’s also difficult. Making the decision is the first step, but where do we go from there? I have some ideas.
Enlist help. You know how to do what you’ve been doing. You don’t’ necessarily know the best way to go about doing something new. Help can come in the form of friends who’ve made the change you’re embracing. It can mean reading a book or listening to a CD about making that change. It can mean enlisting the help of an expert—a coach, a trainer, etc.
Make the change gradual. I know it’s really tempting to jump into a big change right away, but most of us won’t stick with that big of a change. If, for instance, you’ve decided to exercise regularly you’re best to start off with 30 minutes of walking 3 days a week. You can build up from there. If you start out with a 60-minute power walk (or even run) 5 days a week, you’re likely to give up before it becomes routine. Plan incremental changes so that you can work your way up to the level you want to achieve.
Make yourself accountable. Even if it’s just writing down your progress so you’re accountable to yourself, set up some sort of accountability. If it’s business changes you’re making, I’d suggest letting the next person above you know. In the case of my direct sales business, that would be my director. If she knows, we can set up a way for me to let her know if I’m doing what I set out to do.
Don’t give in to failure. Let’s be realistic. Chances are good that at some point you’re going to drop the ball on this change. You’ll let a few days go by without making those calls. You’ll give in to that craving for a really big bowl of chocolate chocolate chunk ice cream. That’s not great, but it’s not failure. Failure would be to decide that one slip (or five, or ten) is the death knell for your new routine. Don’t let that happen. Pick yourself up, and get back on track. I’ve heard for years that it takes 21 days (or 21 consecutive events) to make something a habit.
And, don’t worry if you’ve already given up on that big change you had intended to make. The great thing about making a decision is that you can always make a new one. Readjust your goals and start again no matter what the date is on the calendar.
Best wishes on making your new start for 2010!