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Most of us tend to adopt an ‘all or nothing’ approach to resolutions and goals. If we trip up, we stop trying altogether. Dieting is one of the most popular goals set by people when the calendar flicks over from one month or week to the next. Eating more healthily also ranks highly. But as soon as someone eats a piece of chocolate, or has a ‘forbidden’ dessert while out for a meal, that’s it – they think of themselves as a failure.
Yet it is hard to discard old habits. It takes time to form new ones. It’s also far better to reach a goal by taking the long way around than it is to abandon it altogether. In fact, it’s very unlikely you’ll achieve your goal without the odd slip up or slide back into old habits.
So, if you’re struggling, try these tips to help you get back on track.
1: LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
I once read that a mistake is only a mistake if you do not learn from it. I love that. We can learn something from every situation we experience. Think about what went wrong. What could you have done to prevent it? Make a note of the steps you might have taken to stick with your new habits. By writing them down, they will solidify in your mind and make it easier to follow them in the future.
2: REMEMBER YOU’RE HUMAN!
Humans make mistakes. We can also learn from them, as we discovered above. It’s very easy to be hard on yourself for not achieving perfection. But there is much to be learned on the journey you are making. Remember why you set your intention or goal to begin with. Remember how much it means to you. Remember why you want to achieve it. Go easy on yourself and resolve to get back on track immediately.
3: CHOOSE A CHAMPION
Everyone benefits from having someone close to them who believes in them. Sometimes, no matter how hard we may try, it is difficult to summon the support and encouragement we should give ourselves. If you choose someone to be your champion, they can step in when you find it hard to do this yourself.
Some people agree an intention or goal with a partner, loved one, or friend. Maybe you both want to lose weight, or get more exercise, or eat healthier. Doing something together means one person can pick up and support the other when they’re having a rough day, and vice versa. You don’t need to go it alone.
4: TREAT EACH DAY AS NEW YEAR’S DAY
If you slip up, instead of ditching your goal altogether, tell yourself that tomorrow is another day. Try to plan a little better (see tip number 5) to make sure that it doesn't happen again but then agree to start over tomorrow and refocus your energies on that. Forge ahead with renewed determination and positivity!
5: PLAN AHEAD
Think about what went wrong. Why did you fall back into your old habits? For someone trying to lose weight, eating out at a restaurant is a real challenge, for example. For someone trying to quit smoking, socialising with people who love to smoke is difficult.
While you don’t need to abandon these things altogether, you could find ways to make them easier. Perhaps you won’t go out for a meal for the next few weeks, until you are more settled into your new healthy eating routine and better able to make healthier choices from the menu. Maybe you will stay inside the pub when others go out for a smoke. What other ways can you think of that will help you with your goal?
Creating a new intention or goal is the easy part, following through and taking action is where it can get tricky but remember that people achieve the very same goal as you every year. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to look back 6 months from now and say, ‘Hey, that was a tough journey, and I tripped up a few times, but I made it!’ Or, you might say, ‘I never thought I would do it, and I failed here and there, and it was harder than I thought, but I made it!’
You know, you might even say, ‘I didn’t quite achieve my goal, but I tried all year and I’m nearly there!’ Wouldn’t that feel amazing?
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.