It’s that time of year when people start to think about New Year’s resolutions. Every year they make resolutions they’re unable to meet. Some have given up and don’t bother with resolutions or goals at any time of the year, because over the years they have “proven” to themselves “they don’t work”.
It’s difficult to make lasting change if you don’t understand how human behavior and change works. In order to meet goals it’s important to understand how to manage change and to make the process of change work for you, not against you.
Most people’s goals are aimed at changing nothing more than bad habits, habits which were started without conscious thought and have been reinforced over time. It’s easy to underestimate how powerful a habit is and see it as a personal or moral failing if you’re unable to change it right away.
But, if it has taken someone 15 years to establish a habit it won’t be extinguished or replaced in 3 months. Yet people get discouraged when that doesn’t happen. They’re unable to meet their goals because they try to do too much too fast. The goal is too big or complex and their expectations are unrealistic.
Start small, have patience and realize you’re going to have uneven success. Uneven success means that some days will be more successful than others. But, the measure of successful change is how many times you try until you achieve it, not how many times you falter. Having a bad day is just that, it’s not a moral failing requiring you to abandon all hope.
It’s the nature of learning that we build on the knowledge and experiences we’ve gained from the past to do better now and go forward into the future. Success breeds success when you set small goals which build on the small goals already accomplished. Instead of seeing yourself as a failure, know that true success comes from the ability to give yourself enough time and chances to get it right.
– – Article contributed by Nicole Abbott – writer, educator and psycho-therapist.