It seems like only yesterday everyone was busy making New Year’s resolutions. As we tumble quickly into late spring, many of us are starting to wonder how these resolutions are turning out. Do our butts hurt because we’ve stayed true to our commitment to the gym or are we sore from falling off the wagon again? If your answer is anything like mine, I think it’s time to renew your resolution.

What can we do to set ourselves up for success?

While each of us is unique and results will vary, here are some of the most common strategies to get you on your way to healthy habits that last.

1. Create Awareness

When you first initiate change, you need to become aware of “why” you’re making these changes. Is your “why” strong enough to overcome any challenges you might experience. These questions will create your mental shield to help overcome any obstacles you may face.

According to Transtheoretical Model of Change, shifting our awareness happens in five stages. Take a moment to identify where you are.


Precontemplation

During the first stage of this model of change, you are not yet thinking about changing.

Contemplation

You start weighing the pros and cons of behavioral change.

Preparation

You start planning the steps that will help you to make a change.

Action

You’re now actively engaging in positive behavior that was started less than six months ago.

Maintenance

In the last stages of The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, you are incorporating the new behavior into your life.


Now that you understand where you are located within this model, it’s time to identify what mental distortions and obstacles you could encounter. These include unproductive thought processes that can paralyze someone from making positive changes in their life.

Examples of Mental Distortions include all or nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and unwarranted critique.   

2. Know Your Strengths

Once you understand your obstacles and your mental distortions, you need to pull in your strengths. List out your strengths and create a game plan for how you’ll implement the process to stick to your habits.  

Example Strength List

  • I am exceptionally persistent.
  • I am open-minded.
  • I am always hopeful and optimistic.
  • I am remarkably creative.

3. Create Tiny Habits

Start your habit journey small. Begin by creating simple tasks using the three following steps:

  • Anchor Moment: Us an existing routine (like brushing your teeth) as a springboard for your new healthy habit
  • New Tiny Behavior: A simple version of the new behavior you want, such as flossing your teeth or doing a few pushups immediately after your Anchor Moment.
  • Instant Celebration: Something you do to create positive emotions, such as saying “Nicely Done!” You celebrate immediately after doing the New Tiny Behavior.

As you move through these tips, keep in mind that this journey will have its ups and downs. You will fail and you will constantly ask yourself why you are making the change. Place your “why” front and center in your mind when you struggle. It will create the motivation when all else fails. Remember to assess where you are in life and celebrate small victories.

Take these strategies to heart knowing they may help you become financially stable, improve your relationships, increase your physical wellness, and whatever else you’re seeking. 


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