I don’t know about you but whenever there is a new beginning, whether that’s a new year, new job, house or even sometimes just a new week, I’m always thinking of what changes I can make to improve my life. I’m probably not alone in thinking that way but as with most things, I can take it to extremes.
I was at a point where I would believe that come Monday I would be a totally different person, I thought I would be healthy and I would be nicer to people but time after time I carried on shoving chocolate in my mouth and being the same heartless bitch as I was the week before.
As a teenager, I genuinely thought that if I got up early in the mornings, straightened my hair and wore lipstick every day as opposed to crawling out of bed and barely sticking a brush through my hair, I would, therefore, become a totally different person. I was wrong, and quite often disappointed in myself and it wasn’t long before I turned back into the teenage sloth I was destined to be.
When I got older, I realised where I was going wrong. Going to sleep and thinking I am going to wake up 8 hours later with a totally different mentality to everything before is stupid. Thinking that people even notice that you’ve changed your hair or are wearing a new shade of lipstick is also stupid.
That’s not to say that the need for change or the want to improve yourself isn’t valid. I have wanted to get healthier for years, I want to be bothered to fake tan and do my hair every day and I wish I could keep my house just that little bit tidier…. but I’m not going to achieve all this overnight. I might not even achieve it in six months and that’s perfectly ok.
New beginnings aren’t about waking up at the start of the year and suddenly achieving everything you’ve ever wanted to – that expectation is setting you up for failure. It’s about knowing where you want to be at the end of the journey and taking small and realistic steps in order to get there.
I always set an end of year target and then break it down into smaller realistic steps to start from January and turn those steps into a habit. Last year my overall target was to be healthier and while I didn’t lose the weight as I wanted, I have gone from eating on average one portion of fruit and veg a week to eating at least 5 a day and exercising all the time.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took lots of small lifestyle changes that I am continuing to work on. But, more importantly, I didn’t stick to a crazy regime for three weeks before giving up and spending the rest of the year feeling like shit because I couldn’t live up to the unrealistic expectation that I was going to wake up on January 1st as a health freak. As opposed to a chocolate obsessed, sugar-addicted, comfort eater who is partial to the odd vodka (or ten).
The point I am trying to make is that when it comes to new beginnings, whether that’s because it’s January and you want to make resolutions or just because you’re bored with how your life is, it doesn’t ever happen overnight. It’s about not setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun. Without sounding like I’m in a boardroom right now, smaller, measurable and most importantly, realistic goals are what is most likely to have the biggest impact.
Remember that it’s the little things that make the big things happen!