“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce
If you want to know why life is the way it is look at your habits. Getting up early is a habit, so is staying in bed ten minutes longer. Eating your meals on the run is a habit so is sitting down with your family. Watching too much TV is a habit so is reading a good book.
Every thing we do is a habit: how we think, how we speak, how we exercise and how we work. Some habits are serve us well and others keep us stuck, limited and unsuccessful.
How do you want to ring in the new year? If you want to change your life, change your habits. Ask yourself, what bad habits do I need to release and replace in order to make 2009 the best year in my life?
Be clear. Be honest. Do I drive recklessly? Do I put enough time and fun in my most important relationships? Do I make excuses for not eating healthy or exercising? Do I procrastinate and fail to plan my day?
Imagine taking each bad habit and turning it into a habit that serves you well. How would your life be different? What if you didn’t have debt and lived within a budget? What if you turned off the TV and computer at a set time and spent more time with the people you love? What if this was the year you got rid of clutter?
I suggest the following action plan:
1. Write down 6 habits you would like to change. Instead of the ususal 30 day plan, give yourself a 60 day plan. You will have six new habits by the end of the year!
2. Replace a bad habit with a good one. When I quit smoking I began running. For motivation, I bought new tennis shoes, socks, and a new pink (my favorite color) running outfit. I also signed up for a subcription of running world. My goal was to run a 10K within six months. I started walking and added a little running each day. Soon I was running more than walking and finally just running!
3. Begin with only one! I recently decided to simplify my life by not purchasing any clothes for a year. After two months I decided I was going to decrease my expensive latte’s to one per week. This way you won’t be overwhelmed and tempted to give up.
4. Do what works for you. You may hate the thought of running. So choose something you like, the possibilities are endless. You could choose cross country sking in the winter and rollerblading in the summer months. Experiment until you love what you are doing, or you won’t do it.
5. Think Positively. I’m currently training for a half marathon. Yesterday I went out for seven miles. At mile five I was losing steam and realized it was in my head. I changed my thoughts from, ‘this is so hard’ to ‘I’m going to feel great when I’m finished.’
6. Commit. Write out a check to your favorite charity. Give it to a friend and say, ‘Mail this out in sixty days if I fail to keep my commitment.’
7. Persist. When I lived in Michigan, because I didn’t like the treadmill I ran in the rain, sleet, snow and sun. Do not make excuses. Be consistent for sixty days.
You won’t have to think twice about it after that. Just like you don’t think about how you are going to drive a car, you just do because it’s a habit.
8. Take action to cure fear. Susan Jeffers advice is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Go forward one step at a time and build your confidence with each step.
9. Live in the present moment. Yes you’ll have bad days. You aren’t perfect and life isn’t fair. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Change your life today.
10. Reward yourself. How can you treat yourself when things get tough? Make a simple of list of rewards and use them on your toughest days.
What habit would you like to change? Leave it in the comment box below.