by Jonathan Woolridge, WeAlign Certified Coach
Have You Ditched Your New Year’s Resolutions Yet? I didn’t make any, but I am making bite-sized changes that will compound over time. If you’re tired of beating your head against the wall every winter as you rely solely on will power to make positive change in your life, then I’d encourage you to keep reading!
The other day I was standing by the copier, scanning a bunch of documents, and I heard a buzzing noise. After a second of looking around, I noticed that a fly had gotten stuck in the blinds. I decided to free this fly from it’s impending doom, but immediately after it was free, the fly took a hard-right turn into another set of blinds. In that moment, I thought about all the times I set out to make meaningful change in my life only to lose steam and divert back to familiar struggles. Since it’s that time of year, I decided to focus on the fact that New Year’s resolutions don’t work, but bite-sized, “you know you’ll do it”, changes produce extraordinary results over time.
I know some of you might be thinking of the rare individual who actually sticks to their resolutions, but the majority of human beings struggle every year to make significant improvements to their lives. You know what I’m talking about. For some of you, 2019 might have felt like a rinse and repeat cycle of getting stuck, then getting unstuck, only to get stuck again. This could be for a number of valid reasons, but at the end of the day, stuck is just stuck.
Whether your decisions led you to this predicament or circumstances out of your control trapped you there, you can decide how to respond. Whether you wallow in self-pity or stand up and take the next right step is completely up to you. This could look like forming good habits or dismantling bad ones. It might be a simple change in perspective. The point is to TAKE THE NEXT RIGHT STEP. President Harry S. Truman once said, “Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time”. Making lasting change in your life begins by taking imperfect action regularly over long periods of time. Don’t let perfectionism or impatience keep you from moving forward.
If you want to exercise more in 2020, don’t start by going to the gym 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. If you want to read more books in 2020, don’t expect yourself to be able to read 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. If you want to succeed in making a change, start with bite-sized steps. Even if you have to break it down to reading 5 minutes a day, that’s better than setting yourself up for disappointment on February 1st when you look back and realize you successfully completed 4 days of your new resolution before taking a hard right turn back into old habits.
Taking small consistent steps is not a small achievement! Working out for 15 minutes a day consistently, when you normally don’t work out at all, isn’t a waste of time! 2020 will be wasted if a year from now, you look back and realize that you haven’t made any progress at all. 2020 will be wasted if you keep being all or nothing. 2020 will be wasted if keep believing the self-imposed lies that you can’t do it when in reality you set yourself up for failure on January 1st.
What if I told you that this year, you could break the cycle? What if I told you that many of the answers to escaping your dilemma are floating in your head right now? What if I told you that 2020 could be a year of break-through? All it will take is consistent imperfect action, one day at a time. If you’ve already ditched your resolutions, you’re in good company. Start taking small, attainable steps today, so you can look back on a years-worth of progress on January 13th, 2021.
What imperfect bite-sized action are you committed to taking consistently in 2020? Take it one day at a time and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve!
Great point about making change is rarely a matter of a huge shift in behavior fueled by willpower.
Along the same lines as this blog, I really enjoyed Susan Peirce Thompson’s New Year’s vlog on this: “Three Things More Important Than Your Goals”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_YMgKOr91w