It’s about to be not just a brand new year . . . but a whole new decade!
2020 is right around the corner, and I think it’s the perfect time for a major shift in perspective. It’s time to finally give up on making all-or-nothing changes, feeling desperate for quick fixes, and wasting your time trying “not to.”
So this year, instead of repeating the whole New Year’s resolutions thing where you try to change ten things at once, let’s do it differently.
This year I want to you start methodically changing your habits instead of changing everything you do. This year I want you to look six months out instead of trying to become an entirely new person by February. This year I want you to finally start down a new path that takes you on a journey rather than a race to the finish line.
This year I want you to take it one month at a time, one change at a time.
Here’s how this approach is different and much more effective.
Making drastic changes, all at the same time, doesn’t work. It requires willpower, and because willpower is a limited resource, it runs out. Then you fail, give up, and go back to your old habits.
But when you make one small change at a time, there is no pressure. You don’t feel the resistance that comes with making huge, sweeping changes. This is significant, because resistance pushes you to do the very things you’re trying not to do. And by giving yourself 30 days to make only one change, you have room to slip up — and then get right back in the ring.
Furthermore, by allowing yourself to freely engage in the other behaviors you ultimately want to change, you’ll likely end up not having a free-for-all with them. You’ll end up naturally making incremental progress with those, too, because of the confidence you’ll gain by succeeding with the one change you’re working on.
Here’s the step-by-step process for implementing your six-month behavior-change program that will finally get you on the road to real results:
- Write down 10 habits you want to change. They can be a mix of habits — some that would be super challenging for you and others that would be easier to accomplish.
Pick the six that would have the most impact. These will comprise your six-month transformation.
Order them so that they build on each other — the first one makes the second one easier to achieve, and so on. For example, if drinking more water means you’d drink less alcohol, that one comes first.
For each habit, write down four or five small actions you could take to help you change it. If you want to drink more water, you could put bottles of water around your house (by the sink, in the shower, on your bedside table), you could set up a weekly bottled water delivery through Amazon, you could buy a pitcher that infuses fruit juice into your water, you could drink a bottle of water before you get out of bed each morning, or you could drink one glass of water before ordering a glass of wine.
Get out your 2020 calendar and write down the habit you’ll be working on next to the corresponding month. Even better, write down the specific changes you’ll make each week (one per week). There’s a ton of evidence that writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them.
Between now and New Year’s Day, buy an inspiring book to read that will get you mentally ready to make changes. Some excellent ones are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, and Mini Habits by Stephen Guise.
Don’t worry about getting this perfect. It’s guaranteed that you will slip up and “fail” — maybe a few times. Your goal is to make progress, not do everything right 100% of the time. And if you want to reorder the habits or even switch them out for new ones, that’s fine. If you’re making insane progress with one and feel ready to add the next one, that’s great, too.
It always helps to set a non-weight-loss goal that fills you with excitement and take small steps to work toward that one, too. Feeling enthusiastic and joyful supercharges all your other efforts.
You don’t have to keep repeating the same cycle every single year. Making New Year’s resolutions and trying to stick to them all at once rarely ever works.
It’s addictive to set major, seriously challenging goals and ride the ambition wave — This year I have what it takes! This year I’ll really commit!
It’s never a question of commitment — your commitment is always real, there’s no doubt. And you definitely have what it takes.
The problem isn’t you . . . it’s your approach. And all you have to do is change it.
This year really can be your year . . . as long as you don’t try to squeeze that year into the month of January!
And with a new outlook and a changed perspective, you’ll soon realize that this next year is actually the baby step to a whole new decade.
So get started in 2020 creating not just the body you want, but the authentic, fulfilling life you deserve to live.
And, as always, once you start living that life, the body you want will naturally appear.