It seems so Old School but as the calendar flips to January 1st every year we like to start anew and make some sort of a change. It’s as rhythmic as the seasons- in Winter we feel the need to rest more, eat warm and comforting food. Springtime calls us to lighten up, move more rigorously. In Summer we are inspired to drink more fluids, eat more salad and after Christmas, we press a reset button. Every Year.
Get fit, lose a few kgs, get more or better sleep, improve connection with loved ones, learn to surf, perfect a dance move – many of us have a reinvent and revive bucket list. The idea of a fresh start, establishing a new habit, breaking an old one, is energising and invigorating for many of us. But how do we make sure we succeed?
Use this plan;
- Be specific about your goal, and take time to get clarity on exactly what it is. Lose weight or get fit are a little vague but shed 4 kg or run a half-marathon are measurable and will keep you accountable. Quit Sugar focusses on something we want to ditch, potentially leaving us longing for that closed door. Choose natural sweeteners gives a positive focal point to move towards. Make sure your resolution is realistic and achievable- if you’ve never ever been to a yoga class, then holding a 10min headstand by Easter is too great an expectation of yourself.
- Resist the temptation to reinvent your entire life. A list of 10 changes might be exciting, but is it possible to realise all of them? Experts suggest focussing on one resolution at a time.
- Plan your attack. Go through the logistics- if you want to improve your golf technique, how many hours per week can you actually be on the course once the Summer holidays are over. Do the risk analysis- what sort of obstacles might get in your way and how will you overcome them? If you come down with a severe dose of inertia in February, what’ll be your game plan then?
- One step at a time. Going all out could result in injury or burn out. Making small steps regularly towards your goal is likely to be more realistic and sustainable. You might not have one whole day per week to devote to learning an instrument, but 15mins daily practice over time will yield some exciting results. Going cold turkey to quit caffeine can result in some incredible headaches, nausea and hefty mood swings. Gradually reducing caffeine intake can be a very seamless way to say goodbye to the attachment, irritation and aggravation you want to leave behind.
- Learn from previous mistakes. If you are going after a goal you’ve tried to reach before (and failed) how can you approach it differently this time? If you know you can stay on track until Easter, and that things usually go sideways after that, what safety net can you put in place to help you stay focussed and motivated way beyond the turning of the Season?
- Be patient. If you are breaking an unhealthy habit, or cultivating a new one, remember that this habit probably set in over time, and will take time to reverse. The compounding effect of your regular persistence will pay off, so long as you do persist regularly.
- Get help. Tell trusted friends and family (who you know have your back) specifically what you are intending to do and ask them to check in with you about your goal regularly. They might want you to do the same for them! You might also want to schedule sessions that you have to commit to e.g. monthly naturopathic consultations to support dietary changes. Having “homework” from your last session and knowing you have another session booked can help with accountability.
- Make a Manifesto- write your commitment down and review it regularly. Elaborate on all the reasons you want to achieve this goal. Be really specific. The results of your success may depend on the detail of this manifesto. Decorate it and place it somewhere you will see it often (ideally every day).
- Be kind. We all have off days. If the horse bucks, get right back on as soon as you can and don’t look back. Congratulate yourself regularly, possibly even with some specifically chosen rewards, to encourage your commitment to grow.
- Drink Tulsi Tea! There’s a whole bunch of ways Tulsi can help. Assisting your stress response as you adapt and adjust to making a new habit or breaking an old one. Boosting your immune system so that you have the energy and vitality for your commitment. Mind-body balancing – a mood-enhancing herb that will help you stay positive! And very importantly, a daily cup of Tulsi, ideally around the same time each day, will invite you to pause and reflect on your progress. See point 8. Grab your Manifesto, spend a few minutes in stillness, close your eyes, and focus on the feeling you will have inside once your goal has been reached. Make this practice a part of your tea break and watch for some surprising results?
How satisfying is it to get to the other side of March and be making good progress on your resolution. Being on track to reach its potential, having recovered from a few obstacles with determination to keep on going. This is a very empowering position to be in! It is surprising how many other areas of our life can be positively influenced by this one resolution, set all the way back on January 1st.