We all have dreams and goals but sometimes have a hard time actually achieving them. In order to reach your goals and dreams, you need to develop more good habits and focus on taking positive action in your life and business. Here are 8 practical things you can do to help implement positive changes in your life:
1. Make a choice to make a change. It sounds simple but deciding on doing something different or improving yourself starts with choosing to do so.
2. Choose 1 thing to change at a time. Don’t try to change everything in your life at once. Don’t put that much pressure on yourself. If you want to make big changes in your overall life like losing weight, starting to work out, keeping up with housework more and going to bed earlier, choose one area to start with. Then once you have implemented those changes, start working on the next area that you want to improve. Studies have shown that it takes 30-90 days to change our habits. Work on one area for 30 days then begin to implement other changes. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3. Write about your journey. Keep a journal of your goals, your daily activities and your progress. This will help hold you accountable and makes your goals more tangible. You will also be able to reflect on past success when you are having a tough day. By committing your goals, thoughts, actions and activities to paper you will increase your chance of success. You could even start an online blog or Facebook Page to share your journey and inspire others. It will motivate, challenge and inspire you as you work to make these changes in your life. If there is someone who has made a similar change in their life, ask if they will mentor you and help hold you accountable. Maybe you have a couple friends who are also looking to make similar changes, start your own support group. Depending on what you want to change, there may already be established support groups that you can join in your own community.
4. Focus on progress, not perfection. Creating new habits and making changes doesn’t happen overnight. It can take up to 90 days to rewire a pattern loop and change the pathways of thoughts in your brain. Change can be difficult so you have to focus on your progress, not getting it perfect right from the start. Be kind to yourself and keep trying. If you fall back on old habits, forgive yourself and try again the next day.
5. Share your goals with your family and friends and let them know how they can help you. I know this one can be difficult especially if you don’t have supportive people in your life or if you have tried to make the changes before and failed. It is important that your friends and family understand your goals and how they can help you. For instance every time I have been on a diet, my family will say things like “I thought you were on a diet, you don’t need seconds” or “that cookie is not going to help your diet”. They mean well, but language and feedback like that makes me just eat more, not less. I finally had to tell them to please not make statements like that.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect and making changes in our lives can be very difficult. If you mess up, if you fall off track or if it takes you longer than you anticipated to reach your goals, that doesn’t mean you have failed. Pick yourself up and try again the next day. “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
7. Formulate a clear plan and create milestones. It is important to come up with a plan and to set milestones to help you in your journey of change. Take your big goal and break it down into smaller, more achievable goals. If you are trying to quit smoking, set a goal of cutting down to two cigarettes a day within 2-3 weeks, then down to 1 a day within another 2 weeks. If you want to lose 50 pounds, create a weekly meal plan and workout schedule. Set smaller goals of losing 1-3 pounds per week. If you want to keep up with housework better, set a goal to have all the laundry done and put away by Wednesday and the dusting and vacuuming to be completed by Friday instead of just saying you will get all the housework done this week. As you reach your smaller goals, you will get closer and closer to reaching your big goals!
8. Celebrate your success! Be proud of yourself for making an effort to improve your life. Do something special for yourself as you reach your milestones. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, just treat yourself to a pedicure or a good meal from your favorite restaurant. When you reach your big goals, have a party or get together with friends, family and your support group to celebrate your success