If we want to put unpleasant habits aside, it is helpful to recognize your own trigger stimuli and to leave the so-called comfort zone. Developing strategies for weak moments, rewarding stage wins and planning goals based on the “SMART” formula can help us.
# 1 The question of what for
As long as we don’t question the real motivation behind our resolutions – regardless of whether it’s New Year’s or any other time – every goal remains a flag in the wind. Just as “New Work” advocates grapple with their professional motivation, their “purpose”, everyone should ask themselves what is the purpose of their resolutions.
Do we want to eat according to the Paleo principle from now on, since the entire fitness clique no longer talks shop about anything else? Isn’t it enough for us to be conscious, enjoyable and self-determined in dealing with nutrition in the course of “healthy hedonism”? Do we start Scrum certification solely to keep up with our colleagues or do we have a real passion for agile work?
Is it a deep desire for a new partnership that is connected with the idea of only appearing attractive in the singles market as a fit and slim person? Then going to the gym with personal training would probably not be very effective. As soon as we critically question our real needs behind the plans in an inner retreat, our plans can change.
# 2 Small steps and constant repetition
Just because we have become weak from reaching into the bag of chips, we don’t have to throw the gun in the grain and order the XXL pizza angrily. In order not to succumb to the “what the hell” effect, we should plan our desire for a change of habits on the basis of the “tiny habits” method: Instead of frustrating mammoth projects for new behaviors, a new, small one is essential for certain success Linking the action to an existing everyday ritual.
This means that after an “after I” (e.g. an existing habit such as making coffee in the morning), we put an “I do” (e.g. ten push-ups for fitness beginners). The connection with the existing habit helps to achieve success.
# 3 Back to the future
If we want to achieve great goals, it is helpful to imagine the desired state as visually powerful with all of the senses and as real as possible in front of the inner eye. How happily will we live in the dream apartment? How light-footed will we feel jogging after quitting smoking? How balanced and happy will we be once we spend more time with friends and family? And how liberating will it feel to devote yourself exclusively to the start-up idea?
Based on the ideal vision of the future, we consider which steps were necessary in the past to get there. A “towards” a desired state motivation is much more promising than a “away from” motivation.
# 4 Change of intent and values due to Corona
The pandemic season may also change resolutions for this year. In the past few months, relationships, contacts, consumption, leisure activities and even the job have been put to the test. The reduction in the Corona period has often shown what we really want and need. Provided you weren’t forced to involuntarily reinvent yourself in order to survive economically.
- Community intent: Connection – be it a friendship, (virtual) team or a (solidarity) community. Feeling the resonance, knowing that you are understood and seen, sharing similar values and being able to fill up on new and strange thoughts with others.
- Intentional enjoyment: a cup of coffee, tea, fresh bread or breakfast in peace in the home office. Consciously perceive smells and tastes. Cook and bake yourself (again). The view of the countryside and the water while walking. Appreciation and gratitude for beautiful things with the knowledge that they cannot be taken for granted.
- Resolution of serenity: do we get upset about an incident in ten minutes, ten hours, ten days, ten weeks, ten months – or on our deathbed? Was the mistake really bad during the presentation? Aren’t we getting entangled in the cinema and taking ourselves too seriously?
- Resolve frugality: what do we really need for a good life? Gratitude for a handful of good friends? To be able to live in peace, freedom, abundance and health, knowing that this luxury is only given to a few people on our planet.
- Resolute Patience: We cannot actively influence an end to the lockdown or the availability of vaccines. Accepting the present and accepting conditions that we cannot change.
# 5 Contrasting behavior
Why not say “yes” more often to things that bring joy – even if they involve effort? Why not say “yes” when we still have so much to do for the job. Why not say “no” more often without a guilty conscience, without explaining and apologizing?
Why not shut up where we often want the last word? Why not raise your voice where we used to be silent out of fear? Why not continue where we used to stop? Add another four pull-ups, negotiate longer – see if more is possible.
And why not stop earlier where we used to do longer? Scroll through the Instagram and Linkedin feed. Tortured small talk with people who mean nothing to us and who don’t care. Why not put off the reward a bit instead of hitting it right away?
Why not write down three things at the end of each day that were nice (such as the espresso after dinner, the phone call with your best friend, the walk?) And that we did really well (for example the presentation or the new contract)?
Here you will find further impulses, reflection questions and advice for a successful New Year!
Lena Wittneben writes here regularly for Personal-Financial.com. She works throughout Germany as a systemic coach, memory trainer, speaker & marketing consultant – more at lena-wittneben.de Her interview podcast “There is a crack in everything …” is available free of charge on Itunes, Spotify or her website.