Making Change Last
Every new year, millions of people promise themselves that they are going to do better in the new year. They are going to exercise more, drink more water, be a more responsible employee, be a more intentional mom, etc., etc.
Research shows that only 8% of these same people claim to have accomplished their resolutions by the end of the year. What's more, fewer than twenty-five in a hundred were still doing them by January 31st.
Even worse, these statistics don't really surprise us. New Year's resolutions have become something to laugh at--or aim for without really expecting to accomplish.
How do we make lasting change?
Maybe it's not the answer we're looking for when we're full of New Year's Eve party food, but the biggest determining factor is discipline. How badly do we want to change? How determined are we to succeed? How well can we manage to keep our goal in front of us when all we want to do is cheat?
Another deciding factor in making change last is by starting small. Most New Year's resolutions do just the opposite; we create grand resolutions that require us to jump into something full throttle, and as the year goes by, we get more and more lax with ourselves. But change begins small. If your goal is to exercise for half an hour each day, make that your goal by four months. Start with two days a week, then three... gradually work your way up to every day. As one of my professors quipped, "The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time."
Lasting change doesn't happen miraculously on New Year's Day. It takes time, discipline, and the ability to grow. In other words, don't make New Year's Resolutions. Make life goals.