For many people the beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to make good resolutions. Of course every other day of the year will serve you just as well. It’s like Mother’s day. Rituals can help you to remember something. Yet having good resolutions is the same with our gratitude we feel for our mothers on Mother’s day. We forget about them and throw our planned improved behavior overboard.
Why does that happen so often?
Is it a lack of willpower? Did we choose the wrong goal? Or why else do we fail our well-meant resolutions so often? It has something to do with the fact that our invidious habits are not necessarily bad behavior but creative solutions for inner conflicts we are not aware of.
“Habits are stored solutions,” says Steve Pavlina. That’s a wise definition because it contains two important insights that need to be taken into account concerning the change of habits. And that might comfort you somewhat, should your New Year’s resolution turn out to be another fly-by-night action.
“Stored” also shows that our habit arises from our past. “Solution” reveals that our habit is connected to a problem for which that specific habit once served as a successful solution. But what‘s the problem? In order to change an unwanted habit sustainably it is necessary to realize what that problem is.
But before you immediately give up all your resolutions and just go on as you did last year, here are some unusual but highly effective suggestions in case you want to carry out something in the near future.
While I was doing research on the topic I stumbled upon this article by Leo Babauta. I took over his headers and wrote my own texts for them. Maybe they can be a good attunement for you for the forthcoming year.
1. DO LESS.
Many leads on time-management give you ideas on how you can get more done in even less time. That could turn out to be the result – however the price you pay may be that you are constantly busy thus always functioning at an optimum on a high level.
Those are the problems clients who come to my seminars or coaching sessions are faced with. Oedon von Horvath’s citation fits this situation perfectly “Actually I’m really different but I rarely get around to it.”
Yet there is rescue. There is another path I’ve been trying out for a while. What do I do?
I concentrate on what is utterly necessary or really important. And I consequently leave out everything else. It amazes me to see how much time I have gained due to my concentration on focusing by not reading the newspaper that often, watching less TV and also delegating a lot of routine work etc.
2. OWNING LESS MAKES THINGS EASIER.
This is not a plea for frugality or radically stopping to buy things. It’s much rather an invitation to take a close look at your home and become aware of all the possessions you have accumulated over the years.
Just ask yourself how often you have used certain items last year. Look at your bookshelves, into your kitchen cabinets, on your desk, in your closets, at your shoe-shelf, in the basement etc.
Ask yourself whether you really need that or whether all these possessions perhaps regulate a fear you have deep inside you. We surround ourselves with many things because we believe or hope that we will be happier or more satisfied with them.
Check every item and think about why you’re (still) keeping it. And what you would lose, if you were to give it away? Clarify if you own it or it owns you.
And if you no longer want certain things just give or throw them away. Because if you have less, you will feel unburdened. Imagine being on a trip with two heavy suitcases – or a lightweight backpack. The difference is incredible!
3. DON’T BOTHER WITH ODDS AND ENDS.
No matter if it concerns the kindergarten, your partnership or your office. Many people struggle with or fight over small potatoes. How thing should be done correctly. According to the idea: “There are two ways of doing anything – the wrong way and my way!” What would be better. What belongs to whom.
These conflicts are sensible when the matter is an important one. But not when you are dealing with peanuts. That has something to do with the human character trait of always having to be right. Thus our fear of getting engaged with something new or granting that we don’t invariably get our way.
Let go of the peanuts in your life, take a deep breath and smile. You gain time and energy for things in your life that are worthwhile.
4. TIDY UP RIGHT AWAY.
Instead of having many little tidying up actions pile up into a huge mountain, simply put things in their proper place right away. Once you’re done with something clean it up. Put the plate into the dishwasher when you’ve enjoyed your breakfast. The paid bill wanders into the filing tray. The shoes you took off go right onto the shoe-shelf.
This way things don’t pile up in the first place. It’ll only take you a few seconds or two minutes max. Hey, and it’s done. That goes for a lot of matters in life, not only for straightening up. A phone call, a misunderstanding, a penumbrous situation.
Try getting things done right off the bat.
5. MAKE SMALL CHANGES STEP-BY-STEP.
The safest way to have intentions fail is wanting to take too large steps. And a good way to achieve something is to take small steps.
You know how it is when you want to save money for example. If you put your change in to the piggy-bank every Sunday you will end up with a notable sum by the end of the year. Just like that without feeling any lack. But spending that same amount all at one time is something you will feel quite noticeably when you see it black on white on your pass sheet.
Many people are too impatient to follow this advice – they want to get it all done at once. But you can almost reach any kind of big change in your life by splitting it up into small, feasible steps.
That applies for losing weight or getting fit, writing the book you’ve always wanted to publish, redesigning your living room, embellishing your garden, improving your partnership and raising your offspring.
Surely there a quite a few things that use a change but we often pull on the grass expecting it to grow faster – but it doesn’t. Many things simply need time and our patient actions for us to actually see the first changes.
Small changes are a lot more hassle-free. Why? Because our resistance doesn’t offer as much sail area. Try getting your filing baskets in order for only seven minutes every second day. Or arranging your receipts for doing the taxes. But only for seven minutes!
We often refrain from tackling changes because they seem too big and overwhelming to us. We feel intimidated, almost bullied by them and we end up with a resigned “I don’t stand a cat’s chance in hell to ever make that!”
Now you know the secret, too: start with small steps. Small steps have the benefit of being more sustainable, because we reaffirm our new habit instead of having endeavors that we keep putting off and only dare to tackle every once in a while.
6. FOKUS ON THE IMPORTANT THINGS.
Without wanting to tell you what to do, in my opinion these are the three things that are important in everyone’s life: work that safeguards your existence, satisfying relationships and having the feeling that you’re making a difference with what you are doing.
That ought to keep you occupied for a while. And then something essential may also happen: living in the moment far more often.
That means really being present for what you are currently doing. Concentrating on what you are occupied with and not letting yourself be distracted by something else.
This way many things become important. No matter whether you are sipping your piping hot coffee, talking to a dear friend or reading an interesting book.
Having said this I wish you plenty of important moments for the New Year.
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