The new year is off and running. Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions, while some of us have given up on the whole process, thanks to disappointments and derailments. We often fall short of the mark we’ve set because our goals are lofty, and we ask too much of ourselves in too short a period of time. We are unrealistic. So, we shouldn’t really be surprised when things don’t quite work out as we hoped, should we?
When you review the scientific literature and the neuroscience of behavior change—what it takes to break old habits and form new ones—we learn it is a gradual evolution over time, and we should expect detours along the way. The trick to getting where we want to go requires that we be realistic about what we want to accomplish and the timeframe we give ourselves to accomplish it.
It is also critical to recognize and accept that the path will be crooked at times, with detours along the way. Instead of feeling badly and beating ourselves up (often for days or even longer), when a roadblock happens, how about trying something new? Since you’ve already accepted that these moments will occur, try this: Acknowledge the derailment or detour, make the best of it, and see if you can identify whether something specific is triggering it so you can plan around or avoid it in the future. (This applies to any goal you have set for yourself.) Then, let go so you can move on. Tomorrow, or even the next hour, is literally another chance to find your way back to your plan.
Over the remainder of this year, please join me as we Take Small Steps to greater well-being and the life you want. Imagine December 31st and feeling grateful and happy about what you’ve learned about yourself and the progress you’ve made on your goals and direction you’ve set for yourself. Each month I will highlight small steps you can take to feeling good, both physically and mentally—small steps that are manageable and allow you to celebrate progress. Success leads to more success. Now let’s get started!
- January – Breathe
- February – Move More
- March – Get Enough Sleep
- April – Eat Better
- May – Take Time To Do “Nothing”
- June – The Golden Rule
- July – Connect to a Higher Purpose: Make a Difference
- August – Take Time To Do Things That Make You Happy
- September – Celebrate Your Unique Gifts
- October – Don’t Smoke
- November – Reduce Stress and Manage It Better
- December – Everything in Moderation