This is my prayer for 2019— "...a bit of earth... to plant seeds, to make things grow, to see them come alive"! I'm praying for seeds of hope, redemption, love, joy, fulfillment, compassion, peace, and encouragement!
A lot of times we don't want to see change happen. Many of us don't even like change, unless it's the kind you find in the cupholder of your car. But change can be a good thing. Some times we need change. Occasionally we even want change. So when change is a good thing, and we are actually welcoming it into our lives, how do we make it stick?
Maybe you rang in the new year with a determined resolve to quit something old or start something new. You've decided to do less of this or more of that. Ditching an old, bad habit or starting a new, good habit takes some sticking to.
Do some of these resolutions sound familiar? I'm particularly drawn to the "learn a new skill or hobby", and who doesn't need to drink more water? Maybe these are some of the same resolutions you made last year. But last year, sadly, they didn't stick. This is a different year! We're going to make those resolutions stick this year, because you and I both know the sticking to is what makes change happen!
So how can we ensure that our determination to quit this or start that, to do less of this or more of that sticks?
7 ways of sticking to that New Year's resolution:
Keep it real. Let's face it, we are probably not going to run a marathon or participate in a triathlon this year. And losing 50 pounds, should we need to, might be a tough one also. Those are lofty goals. But what if we just want to start walking, or lose enough weight to fit into those clothes we once loved? Those goals are real. We can do that! Those are the types of goals we can stick to. And when we stick to those goals, then maybe some day we will run a marathon, participate in a triathlon or lose all the weight we need to. With perseverance, encouragement, and support, you can do this. Real goals turn into what seemed like unattainable goals when we stick to them. And when we stick to it, we inspire others to stick to it as well. Some will cheer us on. Others will be inspired. So let's keep it real!
Take baby steps. Set written goals with time limits. Break those goals down into smaller weekly and daily baby steps. Read them aloud to yourself every morning and see what happens! Think small. Think baby steps. Baby steps move you toward your ultimate, bigger goal quicker. Each baby step will build your confidence and help you succeed at the bigger, more difficult-to-reach goal. When you begin your day with a plan you have a better chance of checking the boxes and reaching that ultimate goal sooner. So breakdown those big goals into smaller, more attainable goals. You'll enjoy the success in the end when you start with baby steps.
Understand the why. Understanding why we need to make changes in our life is important. Until we understand the why, the sticking to is likely not going to happen. Old habits and routines are difficult to break. It is challenging to make changes even when we know they are good for us. So when you're considering a change, take time to think it through. Adopting a new behavior becomes more attractive and you boost your chance of success when you understand the why.
Be committed. Make yourself accountable to others. Use social media, written or verbal commitment. Be bold! Post your commitment on Facebook. Tweet it to your followers on Twitter. Instagram it with a selfie. Seek out friends with like-minded goals. Be accountable to people you don't want to let down. That will even strengthen your commitment. Some goals, like drinking more water or making more time for family, have immediate, positive payouts. However, other goals, like learning a new skill or hobby, take time to see the payout,. Especially when the positive payout is not immediate, be patient with yourself and be committed!
Reward yourself. We all like rewards, don't we? Star stickers used in kindergarten classrooms still make me happy as an adult. It's the little things! Don't wait until you've reached the big goal to reward yourself. You deserve a reward for the baby steps as well. Give yourself an attaboy, a pat on the back, and maybe even a star sticker when you reach those baby steps. It's important! Find a support group to cheer you on. You may even find an online support group to be helpful. Be your own motivational speaker. Be your own life coach. Reward yourself daily.
Learn from the past. We've all failed at some point in the past to make a change. Let's ask ourselves why. Let's learn from the past. Each sincere attempt to make a positive change represents a lesson learned. If you hit a brick wall, step back and take a moment to think about what did and did not work for you. Maybe you took on too big of a challenge? If so, dial it back a bit, and make that goal more attainable. Or as we said earlier, break that big goal down into a few baby steps. When we realize that failure is really a lesson learned, we learn from the past.
Be grateful. Don't aim for perfection. Set your sights on the goal, but embrace the journey! When you complete a marathon you are already a winner even if you walked that last six miles. I've been there. I know. I've done that. I got the t-shirt. The finish line is still there even if you don't run the whole marathon. This can be said of whatever goal you choose. The benefit is in the journey. If you don't reach the finish line the way you envisioned don't beat yourself up about it. Be kind to you! Any progress toward the ultimate goal is always better than no progress at all. Be grateful for progress and embrace the journey.
How can we accomplish this in 2019?
One way I know is to step out of our comfort zones. Go out into the darkness, into the unknown. And how can we do that except we put our hand into the hand of God? For "that shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way".
What seeds do you want to plant in 2019?
If you have made New Year's resolutions but rarely stuck to them, I dare you to read Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. It might just be the best gift you've ever given your goals!
"Goals you don’t finish don’t disappear. They become ghosts that haunt you. Scientists call it the, “Zeigarnik Effect.” You remember incomplete goals more than completed ones.
That’s why you need the book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff. He's humorous, but also real helpful because he knows the problem is real frustrating for so many of us. The book is loaded with research but super practical at the same time. It's also a great gift for the perfectionist in your life. Check it out!
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