New Year’s brings thoughts of change, looking inside and deciding to stop bad habits and/or start up some good habits. We usually make a list of resolutions. We want to exercise more and eat less so that we will feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately for most of us, we don’t make it to the end of January with these habits established.
Where do we go wrong? Are we not determined enough? Don’t have enough motivation? Not enough will power? What ingredient are we missing? I believe there is always a recipe for change, rather than one ingredient that will determine our success. I think the thing we lack most is focus. Obviously our recipe must include will power, motivation and determination, but I think we often don’t have enough focus.
In order to focus we need fewer things to focus on. I don’t suggest we throw out our list of resolutions, but I do suggest we try to tackle only one thing at a time. So in the spirit of babysteps, think of a schedule for starting new habits. I have heard it said that it takes 30 days to form or break a habit, so monthly seems like a good choice to me. Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography a list of virtues that he felt he must possess, but he knew it was useless to try to change many things about himself all at once. He made a list of 13 character qualities he wanted to perfect and focused on one each week and then moved on to the next virtue. He then started back over again, so he really focused on each virtue 4 times per year.
I do think we could try to tackle multiple things per month if they are in different areas, such as one thing in our character, one thing in our eating habits, and one thing in our spending habits.
I myself need to get back into my Pilate’s routine. I’m going to sign up again for the Flylady emails. My own systems for housecleaning work for a while and then I fall out of the routine, so I’m going back to Flylady. Her program is a handy system of email reminders that get you motivated. Since I’m on the computer a lot these days I’m hoping the emails will spur me to focus more on the house. J I have some packaged food items I want to cut out. These are the items I cut out in 2007 – pickles, sour cream, jar spaghetti sauce, canned chicken broth (I have made my own for years, but out of laziness I was buying the canned variety more, now I solely make my own), granola bars, lunch meat, veggie dip, sauerkraut, canned tuna, cake mix, and canned icing. This is not to say that I do without these things, I have either made them from scratch or made an alternative item. I will detail this later.
Lastly, let’s not wait till New Year’s to look inside and make changes. Let us be in a constant state of reflection, all of us have progress to make. Let us move past good intentions and FOCUS on changing for the better.