Every year on January 1st many of us have big plans and hopes on the “what” we plan to
accomplish or even change in our daily habits and lifestyles.
We think that the beginning of a brand new year gives us the opportunity of a clean slate to “start” again and even “this time” complete what we decided to start. And every year by February or even March, we tend to fall off the path of change or even give up on all the big plans we had. We start to feel discouraged because
we do not see or even feel the “instant” and “magical” shift or change. We all must remember that change is hard. Creating new habits and quitting old habits is hard. When we get to the point where we feel defeated because things are getting hard we tend to step back and take the easy route of quitting or even slacking off a bit.
Then why do we set ourselves up for failure only to feel defeated? Many of us think that change is supposed to happen overnight or over 1-2 weeks tops. Long lasting and significant changes can only happen with a simple method with two elements. Take small steps and be consistent.
Rather than diving in full force moving to get the “Big” Goal, why not break that goal down into smaller goals. Creating a map of tiny goals that lead to the final one helps the journey become a bit easier and even doable.
When we take small steps and really embrace the tiny changes it helps us incorporate them into our regular lifestyle habits and routines. The smaller increments of change make it easier to be consistent and even sustainable!
Before we know it these lifestyle changes become a regular habit and we will find that we cannot do without them. When we start to feel comfortable in this shift we then add the next incremental change and so on and so forth begin to get closer to our final goal.
I know this all sounds easy when written out but is actually harder when we try to incorporate the idea in our own life practice. But let me remind you that we have all made changes and at the beginning it was not easy. As we continued to be consistent with the action we started, it became easier and maybe comforting. The only way we can create, see and sustain lifestyle change is to do it if it is hard. It is when things are hard where we are challenging ourselves and creating growth in our mindset and in our lives. Committing ourselves to long term goals and creating a path with small steps and small goals to reach the final outcome is scary and especially hard. But it is the fear and the hard that will get us closer to where we would like to see ourselves to be. It takes courage to do hard things and without fear poking us in the back we would not need to drum up the courage to move forward and just try. Remember, as babies and small children we were resilient and rolled over onto our belly from our back after who knows how many tries and cries with our arm stuck under us. We got up and started to crawl, lift ourselves up to stand, then we took that first small step forward to walk. Yes, the very first step we took was tiny! But we did it and look at where we are now! Just think, if we have the same attitude about making changes in our lives now like we did when we were that toddler trying to take the first step where we would be today!
The key is to be and stay resilient to setbacks and maybe even falls that we encounter as we keep trying to make our lifestyle changes. Imagine, if we gave up trying to walk because we fell down we would not be walking as adults today! Setbacks and falling off the wagon happen and that is part of the life journey.
We learned from our mistakes and our successes that got us to where we are today. We must continue to move forward making the changes we need in order to get to our destination! Think about the last time you got lost driving around looking for a destination. Did you give up on getting there or did you turn around and try looking again? Of course these days we have the handy GPS on our phones and it helps us turn around and reach our destination. Just like a GPS on our phone or in our car there are steps to take to get to our destination, we have steps to take to get to our final lifestyle goals.
Driving from Washington D.C. to California cannot be driven on one straight path because there are many turns, highways and exits we need to take to get there. The destination has many steps which include one turn, one highway and one exit at a time to get there. The trip from D.C. to California is not an overnight drive either. It will take us time to get there. Driving one mile at a time. We know this and we prepare for the long journey ahead with proper plans for gas, food, breaks and overnight stays. The same goes for creating that lifestyle change journey. Planning ahead and being prepared for obstacles that may come on the way and knowing what to do if they do happen.
I invite us all to take a moment and really think about our “WHAT” and our “WHY” before we make that BIG GOAL we would like to reach and become. When we are able to define the What and the Why we will understand the importance of our goal and it will keep them as a reminder when we feel like quitting or slacking off. Remember reaching the goal is not the only important part of the process. Enjoying the journey and sustaining that change for life is the ultimate goal. In order to make sustainable change, we have to take small steps, be patient with ourselves and most importantly don’t give up because setbacks happen. Remember, it is never too late to step back up and start again. We may be surprised that each time we start again we will find it easier to hang on and stay consistent. We even will start to notice how much better we feel when we are back on our healthy lifestyle change track. Believe it or not, consistent practice will actually make us crave to continue!
Hi! I am Madhavi and I am the Chief Motivating Officer at Prana Health Yoga & Wellness.
I am here to support you create a healthier and sustainable lifestyle to alleviate you chronic pain, mental stressors, lower your health numbers and more.
I help people lead a more joyful and stress-free life by creating sustainable lifestyle changes to transform lives.
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