Making Changes Small Bites At A Time


by Sue Reddel

Already struggling to keep wtih all those goals you set for 2013? Don't worry. You're not alone. So often we get to December and think, "Now I'm going to set my goals and really change some of my annoying habits." We make a list. Then January 1st comes around and we're ready to roll. But as we all know, change of any kind is difficult. It's rarely comfortable or easy. We want to go back to our old ways and ignore our goals and plans for the year before you know it. 

If you're sticking to your resolutions - good for you! But if you're having a difficult time you might want to rethink your goals and make some adjustments now. That way you have the rest of the year to improve and relax. Here are a few ideas you can use to make those changes little by little. 

Keep It Simple

First try setting some goals that are easy and ones you know you can keep. You can add more challenging ones later. Easing into your goal-setting strategy this way will set you up for success. One of the goals I have this year to show more gratitude. I'm often so turned off by the world we live in. So many people are angry, want to argue, complain or just be miserable. In 2013, I've decided to start every morning by writing down 5 things I'm grateful for. This is so simple and I really enjoy doing it. I decided also to add to that goal that I would choose 5 people who I am grateful at the end of each week and thank them publicly on Facebook. This is all very is easy to do even when traveling so it's something I know I can do and not fall behind on.

Good For You

Lots of people make resolutions to lose weight for the new year. And lots of people still sit around eating ice cream and chips on January 2nd saying, "I'll start tomorrow." Your health is the single most important thing over which you actually have control. Making small adjustments to your behaviors like eating smaller portions, parking a little bit farther away from the shopping center to walk more, grabbing a piece of fruit instead of candy all add up to a healthier and happier you. Don't deprive yourself if you want a snack or treat - have one! Just recognize that it is a "treat" and don't eat the whole box in one sitting.

Drinking more water and the simple act of eating a nutritious breakfast can help you feel good throughout the day. Starting off each day being thankful and not dehydrated or hungy are small, easy changes to make in your routine.

The recent article on Harvard Business Review Sitting is the New Smoking of Our Generation points out exactly how bad all this sitting and working on computers is for us. Author Nilofer Merchant tells the story of how she started walking meetings. This seems like an approach we all could easily incorporate into our work days, at least for just a meeting. Imagine how much better you'll feel after spending sometime away from your office. You may even see your challenges in a new light and find new solutions to old problems.  

Taking A Minute

Our lives are filled with so much stuff going on there's rarely time to just sit and enjoy a moment. From the constant buzzing of our smart phones to our busy, over-booked schedule we always feel like we need more time just to survive.  Taking the time to really look at your garden, spend a special moment with your pet or just look out the window and enjoy watching the birds for a few minutes are probably some of the most relaxing things you can do. Step away from your computer. Take that time to breathe and not focus on anything at all except for that peaceful moment.

I've also added to my list for 2013 time to reflect at the end of every day - no matter when it ends. Just take a few minutes to think about what you learned, what you felt and how these things will affect you going forward. Sometimes the things that frustrate us so much each day are the very things in which we learn the most about ourselves. 

Before I leave you to explore your own life and these ideas might enhance it, I'd like to add one more thought. Don't get so hung up on meeting your goals that you lose sight of what it is you're trying to accomplish. It's way too easy to beat yourself up and give up rather than just start again. After all, we're all human. We have good days and bad days. But only we can make the decision to get up and do it again. When all else fails, put on your headset, listen to your favorite song and dance around the room. After that, you'll feel ready to conquer anything!