Are your New Year’s resolutions running out of steam? Adherence to a new regime can be tough because it requires a behaviour change, and often our behaviours are deeply ingrained. Motivation is a key factor in making your behaviour change successful, so if you’ve felt your motivation drop recently, here are 5 easy ways to strengthen your resolve so you can keep on track with your goals.
Assess Your Stage Of Readiness
For most people, behaviour change occurs gradually over time. We progress from being unwilling to change (pre-contemplation) to considering a change (contemplation) to deciding and preparing to make a change (preparation). This is followed by definitive action, and an attempt to make the new behaviour permanent (maintenance). Most people cycle through these stages several times before the change becomes ‘successful’. Identifying what stage you’re in will provide clarity and foster a positive outcome. Remember, moving too quickly through the stages of change can create resistance, so take your time!
Importance & Self-efficacy
Two major factors that have been found to affect people’s stage of readiness for change are ‘importance’ and ‘self-efficacy’. Importance is about determining what value you place on making this change; how important is it to you? Self-efficacy is your belief or confidence in your ability to carry out this change successfully. A deficiency in either importance or self-efficacy must be addressed before embarking on a behavioural change to avoid resistance.
The help of an experienced professional is invaluable, especially when it comes to a lifestyle change. A trained expert can help you establish your stage of readiness, as well as create realistic goals and an appropriate timeline for you. Weekly or monthly visits hold you accountable to this person and tracks progress. This external validation provides positive reinforcement, support and encouragement, and this fuels motivation. The education you will receive will empower you through your journey as well.
Redefine Your Goal
Think about why you want to quit smoking, or lose weight, or be wiser with your spending. What’s behind that resolution? Spending some time reflecting on why this change is important to you will strengthen your motivation to see it through. Bottom line, you want to feel good about yourself, and the behaviour you wish to change is getting in the way. So remind yourself of your reasons daily. Set a daily phone alarm: “I am worthy of ” … because you are!
Be Kind To Yourself
Change is hard and may take time. Remember that progression isn’t always linear; there will be ebbs and flows to every journey. What may seem like setbacks are in fact opportunities to reconnect to your inner strength. February is a brand new opportunity. Turn your #fail into #focus, it’s never too late!
By Dr. Alaina