January is a time when many people reflect on how they would like to improve their lives, the behaviours that are serving them and others that they are wanting to change. Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution to kick a bad habit, only to find yourself falling back into old patterns? You’re not alone. Research indicates Just 9% of adults keep their resolutions all year long, while many adults (23%) quit the first week of the year. If you are serious about change, then there is a five step process you must engage.
Here are the five steps necessary for you to create healthy change that sticks:
A sense of discontent. Know the gaps of where you are and where you want to be? You have to be clear on exactly what needs to change. Acknowledge your current position and the impact on you and your loved ones. Change occurs when uncomfortable! Some useful questions worth considering: If you don’t make any changes at all and keep doing what you are currently doing, what will the negative impact potentially be for you? Will there be any negative consequences for the people or things that are important to you? What will happen in the long term? How will this impact on your quality of life and your ability to do the things that are important to you?
Have a compelling vision of a better and brighter future. Knowing the benefits and how your life will be better. Spending time unpacking all of the “whys” behind change in your Vision. Some useful questions: As you make some changes in your life, small ones at first, then gradually adding to these over time, what benefits do you notice? How do you feel? What is the positive impact on the things or people that are important to you? What else might change for you?
Create a workable plan of action that is sustainable and specific to your lifestyle. This include harnessing any necessary supports that empowers you to take action and build momentum. Who and what can support you on your journey?
Take continuous and deliberate action. This is the hard part for most people. How good are you at starting something and then being consistent? Is this where you get stuck? Obstacles are going to ruin your best laid plans– how good are you at navigating these and staying on track? A comprehensive plan will identify barriers for change and develop multiple pathways to overcome obstacles ahead of time. I call this “if… then…” planning. If X presents as an obstacle, then I can experiment with beaviours A, B or C. In my experience this is where most people fall down.
Hacking healthy habits so they stick. Research suggests up to 40% of our daily actions are habits – automatic routines we do without thinking. Living a vital lifestyle is about enjoying and repeating healthy behaviours. It is not created by self-denial and incredible will power, but by leveraging some simple hacks that help create healthy habits that stick. To learn more about these hacks please check out my presentation on leveraging health habits.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait for the New Year to change. This five step process is available all year round and underpins my Being Vital coaching program. One of the benefits sighted by participants in the Being Vital program is the structure that it offers. It is an opportunity to:
Reflect and increase self-awareness on areas contributing and detracting from one’s current wellbeing.
Carve out time in the diary to focus on behaviours that promote self-care and increase vitality.
Identify obstacles and challenges, and to brainstorm workable sustainable strategies
Create implementation intentions. How, when, where and with whom behaviours will be consolidated.
Use social contracts and the support of your coach to maintain accountability
Identify and restructure negative thoughts and self-defeating beliefs to increase self -efficacy
Identify and modify environmental factors to facilitate healthy change.
Develop and implement an action plan that prioritises self-care and wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional and social)
Being consistent and leveraging the science of behaviour design and create healthy habits that stick
An interesting observation by an anonymous client...
“I plan my business and I plan my finances. The Being Vital Program was an opportunity for me to harness my project management skills, to take responsibility and project manage my own personal wellbeing.”
PS My next Being Vital Coaching program starts February. To learn more or register your spot. Contact Jason