When the new year rolls around a lot of us resolve to make major changes in our lives–to get organized, start working out, quit a bad habit, etc. But, in no time at all, we’ve given up. We say that life or kids or jobs got in the way and our goals had to take a backseat. But it’s not about other things getting in the way, it’s because our goals are too lofty to begin with, we’re impatient and want immediate results, and habits don’t change overnight.
Changing a habit takes baby steps. It’s a gradual process. So we have to treat resolutions for what they are, a desire to change a habit. Telling yourself you’re going to wake up at 4am to work out or clean the house before the kids wake up when your normal wake up time is 7am just isn’t a realistic starting point, even if it’s the ultimate goal. The way to change your habit is to start small. Try waking up 15 or even 30 minutes early and see how that feels. And so on.
This morning I was listening to the Mother Like A Boss podcast with entrepreneur Kendra Hennessy, she said something that I think all of us with this issue need to hear. She said that reaching goals is all about momentum (the snowball effect), not motivation. To quote her, “Start small, gain speed, build the snowball. Waiting for motivation is a great excuse to stick to bad habits and procrastination, but it won’t move you forward. Momentum creates motivation.” I love that!
For example, if your goal is to organize your home, don’t tell yourself you need an entire day or weekend to do it. Hennessy say to start with five minutes. 5 minutes sounds so simple that it starts the snowball. Once the 5 minutes is up, you’ll realize it wasn’t difficult or painful, it actually felt good, and you’ll want to tackle another small task. Then, you’ll find yourself continuing to complete things on your to-do list because the momentum has taken over. So that 5 minutes turns into an hour. And little by little your goal is met.
We have to stop giving ourselves unrealistic expectations, which only leads to stress and negative thoughts towards goals we really want to reach. Whatever your resolution for 2019, change your mindset and your method and it’ll be much more attainable. Start small, and give yourself a break. Rome wasn’t built in a day.