Article by By Michelle Reeves, life coach & author of The Happiness Habits Transformation
With the ink just dry on your New Years resolutions, you’ve gotten 2019 off to the best possible start, right? Well, perhaps not. According to Statistic Brain, by the second week of January, 31% of people will have already quit on their resolutions and only just over half of us will keep going beyond the end of the month.
As that first flush of New Year excitement begins to fade and the daily hustle and bustle of life infringes on our good intentions, it’s easy to get off track. All too soon we’re dealing with everyone else’s ‘urgent’ and forgetting what’s really important to us.
So should we even bother to set resolutions? Heck yes, and hell no.
Why no? Because it’s easy to set ourselves up for failure by setting sky-high expectations and unrealistic goals without a clear plan to meet them. A goal without a plan is just a wish, and without a genie in our pocket most of us will ditch those wishes as soon as the going gets tough.
Why yes? Because studies show that people who create crystal clear, realistic resolutions (aka goals) with deadlines and accountability are more likely to be successful in meeting them. And meet our personal goals correlates highly with personal satisfaction and happiness.
How do we stay focused on dreams and goals
So how do we make sure we stay focused on our dreams and goals, maintain that all-important forward momentum and build resilience for those inevitable times when our motivation falters?
With a foundation of habits. For the past nine years, my ‘Happiness Habits’ have created that foundation for me, keeping me on track and making sure that I create the space in my day for what’s most important to me. Yes I’m a wife and Mother, yes I run a business, yes I have obligations and commitments. But I also have an obligation to myself, to live my best
life. And so, my gorgeous friend, do you.
Our lives are run by habits. Often without us realising it they lay a path that we follow from the moment we get up to the moment we go to sleep, they can guide our thoughts and even determine our results.
But we don’t have to live at the mercy of our habits – we can also choose them intentionally to create a success framework that increases our chances of meeting our goals.
Three daily Happiness Habits
Here are three daily Happiness Habits that you can begin today:
Remember your why
By now you’re probably sick to the back teeth of all the advice out there about goal setting and making sure your goals are specific, measurable and have a clear deadline (yada yada).
But there’s something just as important that you need to keep in mind when you’re setting yourself goals for this year – your WHY.
Your ‘why’ is the REAL reason behind your goals. Show me someone who says they want to lose 10lb for their health and I’ll show you someone who really wants to feel amazing in that stunning Hobbs dress they bought in the sale. Nothing wrong with that!
Reminding yourself of your ‘why’ every single day creates a purpose for your goals – an internal motivation that is more likely to keep you on track when the you-know-what hits the you-know-what (or the doughnuts come out at coffee break).
Tip a vision board for all your goals and use keywords that focus on your personal motivation for achieving them.
Celebrate every damn day
When we celebrate success we shift into a ‘winning’ mindset. By making daily celebration a habit we can end the day with more confidence and self-belief. We’re more fired up for tomorrow and are less likely to let negative thoughts about what could have gone better play in our minds. When we recognise even the smallest successes we can start to understand what they worked, why it worked, and how we can repeat that across other actions, goals and areas of our lives.
Plus, when we achieve something we set out to do, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which tells us that whatever we just experienced is worth focusing on and getting more of. It’s like a daily motivation supplement that keeps us going.
Tips: set aside a specific time every evening to think through your day and recognise what went well – even the smallest of wins shows that you’re making progress. Make a point of celebrating those wins at the end of the week and share them with someone important to you.
Honour your commitment to YOU
Let’s talk about discipline. Ok, it’s not as exciting as passion and motivation but if that gets you half-way to your goal, discipline is what will get you over the line.
Discipline is about taking personal responsibility, setting realistic expectations for yourself ahead of time and honouring them just as if you were making that commitment to SOMEONE ELSE. (Yup I see you doing exactly what you said you’d do for Betty by
tomorrow while your own dreams gather dust in the corner. We all do it.)
When we take personal responsibility we make a choice – to change things, to take action, to keep that commitment to ourselves. When we take action – even baby steps – it creates a positive feedback loop in our minds that keeps us going. And every time we take a step forward it reinforces the new loop and makes it easier for our minds to BELIEVE we can be
successful and achieve our goals.
Tips: create a realistic and achievable plan for your goals by breaking down each step into tasks that you can schedule into the available time in your calendar and make them a non-negotiable in your day. Find a friend (or coach) who can hold you accountable for getting those tasks done while you’re practising that self-commitment.
Start building Happiness Habits into your daily routine that support your dreams and goals and I’ll join you in raising a toast to your success this time next year!
Michelle Reeves is a life and mindset coach for ambitious women stuck in self-doubt and the author of The Happiness Habits Transformation which is available from all good bookshops from 10 January 2018. Find out more at michellereevescoaching.com