Last Friday was known as Quitters Day. When I read that, I spat my coffee out. That sounds a little weird right? But when I read a Fortune Well article, I was astounded that they have a name for the second Friday of January —
“Only two weeks into the year, many people have fallen short of their New Year’s goals. The second Friday in January is known as “Quitter’s Day,” when people are most likely to throw in the towel on their resolutions.”
Studying the statistics of people who resolved on New Year’s Eve, yesterday was the day you were likely to have stopped backing yourself.
The reality is that sticking to something new can feel hard and uncomfortable. That’s a normal and very human reaction to change. Any form of desired change takes effort and requires consistency.
Here are seven tips to support you to continue your pursuit of the goal
1. Reconnect with your big goal
When working in my own clinical practice, I prioritise bringing my client to a place of remembrance. What is it they want to feel when living out their dreams? For there is great power to be wielded when you reactive your feelings centre.
Unfortunately, when it comes to activating change, our normal human neurological survival programming will activate diversion to defend yourself when anything in life feels uncomfortable. This will look like avoidance and procrastination.
This will immediately impact your capacity for change. Anything new, foreign, unknown or hard will turn on your defence program. This means when anything starts to feel hard your brain will drive you to stop. Your brain will take the path of least resistance because it takes energy to create change.
That same defence program will subconsciously sabotage your willingness to maintain a new routine, thing or aspirational activity. Your defence program causes you to quit because your brain is holding onto a program that is signalling an alert it’s not safe.
What does help to soothe the defensive program is to connect with the positive feelings of your desired goal, and breathe mindfully.
2. Take bite-size actions
Often when you create a goal, the dream of what you want is vastly different from the place where you are now. Therefore the leap from the present moment to the future can induce overwhelm, doubt and fear. Often the actions you attempt are drastically different from what you are used to doing and this triggers the unsafe reaction.
Here’s the thing, you can eat an elephant, you just have to take one bite at a time. You can complete a marathon, one step at a time. No one says you have to run it. These metaphors are useful reminders that small actions, repeated consistently over time, generate big change outcomes.
3. Keep trying
Many people attempt at a new activity, and when they fail, they give up. There are a couple of reasons for this.
- Some people have a fear of failure, so the mere thought of attempting something they have never done before causes paralysis
- Some people need things to be perfect, so to attempt something new and not be good at it, causes their self-worth to diminish
- Some people fear the unknown, so the thought of trying something new without knowing the outcome can induce inexplicable anxiety
- Some people have a fear of being out of control and will invest their time and energy planning. This creates unrealistic expectations of outcomes being a certain way and generates disappointment when the expectation isn’t met. Planning also negates the windows of opportunity and flow to close off, which can diminish the excitement of performing new things.
The trick with anything new is to make the new action so small that it doesn’t matter if you don’t get it right the first time. You simply continue trying until you’ve mastered the task and then continue to the next stepping stone.
Small actions allow you to push through fears and be spontaneous until you achieve victory. Remind yourself that when you were born, you didn’t stand up and run around. Learning to walk took a year. This gives you that little bit of perspective and incentive to keep trying.
4. When you don’t see an instant result
It’s frustrating when you’re investing the effort and don’t perceive any external changes. This is a choice point, and often the place where many people go back to the beginning and give up.
The trick here is to be consistent with two things —
a) undertaking small change activities every day (many small steps create a big change path)
b) reminding yourself daily of how living the dream life feels
This advice sounds counterintuitive, however, real change comes when we reverse engineer our action steps based on our connection with how we want to feel. The more you remind yourself of what the energetic frequency of the dream feels like, the more you will want to connect to it and be living it.
5. When you invest and still don’t see results
Whatever you do, don’t stop. When you hit that point when you’re not seeing results, and you will, this is the time to remind yourself of the success already achieved.
Celebrate every little success, every step taken, every day that you have been consistent. Recognising every little achievement, and every positive bite of success verifies your desire for change. Celebration keeps the resilience momentum going.
If the motivation has taken a hit, and you feel the speed wobbles beginning to shake get an external cheerleader. Take a new action, get support, or shake up the new routine.
I walk every day. But I walk further and faster when I have a walking ‘mate date’.
When I decide I want to change something in my life I do this —
- I reflected on the feelings of living the desired result of what I want
- I pondered all of the likely steps involved in gently moving forward, you can call them milestones if you like
- I listed all the likely supports I might need like comfortable shoes, a walking buddy, or even a YouTube exercise class (for rainy days)
- I explored all the beautiful areas I find myself relaxing in when I walk so that my eyes have different perspectives and never get bored when I exercise
- I created a list of audio books thanks to Spotify that keep me company when I do the tread mill
So you see a plan can look easy enough, right? It is.
Remember how you learned to walk. First, you engaged your core muscles so you could sit upright. Then momentum had you on your tummy. Then you developed the strength to use your arms and you learned to crawl. Then you stood, then stepped.
It’s a process and it takes time. Be kind to yourself as the change unfolds. I remind clients who wish to lose a lot of weight. There will be plateaus as your body recalibrates the metabolism and hormonal programs. Be patient and continue being consistent.
Often the change we want occurs and we don’t see it until someone points it out to us. Go back to the client wanting to lose weight. They know the scales state the numbers are dropping, but they perceive they haven’t lost anything until they bump into someone they haven’t seen in a while.
Remind yourself that your mind will play tricks and default to the basic setting of where you started. If you find yourself floundering, get into your journal, or book an appointment with your therapist and purge out all the feelings associated with your current roadblock.
6. What to do when your life feels “blah” and uninspiring
When you experience that can’t be bothered feeling when you wake up first thing in the morning, take action anyway. This is a crunch moment whereby your brain has defaulted back to the beginning. You need to remind that brain program that it is unwanted and change is required.
Have your workout clothes beside your bed so that you have little choice but to put them on and go outside walking. Preparation for the ‘blah’ moment is critical.
If your goal is to lose weight, then invest time each week in planning meals. If you know you’re prone to take out or have a busy schedule, devote a couple of hours on the weekend prepping a pre-planning menu. This is one of the very best ways to love the inside of you when you’re busy and want to achieve success.
When you go to bed at the end of the day, think of your dream goal outcome. Go to sleep focussed on how good it feels to be living that outcome. This creates the mental space and high vibe for you to awaken to tomorrow.
7. Accept Failure Is Likely
When you scaffold a new habit, you need to have a level of acceptance that your desired outcomes may not initially be perfect. What is critical for ultimate success is the initial adoption of a mindset that incorporates consistent efforts. This means becoming your cheerleader and congratulating yourself every time you try.
Taking the action is what you should consider as significant and a win.
Whether you made a NYE resolution or not, deciding to change something in your life is the easy part. Following up with consistent action and backing yourself is achievable when you have tips on how first to plan and then follow through.
Karen Humphries is a Kinesiology Practitioner, Health & Business Coach, LEAP & NES Practitioner, Intuitive Meditation Facilitator, and published author. She is a self-confessed laughaholic. She loves being of service to the world with her humorous and positive approach to life, encouraging people to ‘choose to change and bloom from within.’