If you’re ready to dream big and make real changes in your life, this is going to be the year of the small habit.
Happy January! It’s that time of year again when we feel the urge to make big changes, start fresh and commit to life-altering resolutions.
The trouble is that often, resolutions just don’t stick.
Not being a Debbie Downer, just keeping it real.
We honestly want to make changes to our life – to be healthier, to exercise, to make more money, to be more organized, to declutter, to get a promotion, to lose weight, to get rid of drama and negativity, to quit smoking, to eat out less often, to change jobs, to save money, and on and on and on.
It’s the one time of the year we promise ourselves that we will change.
Yet where we end up falling short is in the details.
The detail of exactly how to get to the goals we want to achieve that will help us live the life we want to experience.
“What we do every day matters more than what we do once in awhile.” – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
The details of how we plan to make big changes in our life often remain vague.
We know the end goal, but we’re a little fuzzy about how to get from Point A to Point B. We’re not certain on how to change our lives in incremental ways that leads us to our resolution success by the end of the next year.
We don’t want to think about the time it will take. The repeated effort. The amount of daily determination and motivation working toward our goals will take.
Our plan of attack is never broken down into small enough steps and, more importantly, into how we can make the necessary changes a daily habit.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
Without changing our small daily habits, we can’t expect to magically achieve transformation, resolutions or any other goals for that matter.
The small habits we have (and can alter!) are where the power to making big, dramatic life-altering long-term change lies.
Pinpointing how to make very small changes to adjust your daily habits is the key to transformation.
“All big things come from small beginnings.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits
What little tweaks can you make to your small daily habits that will compound over time and change your life in the direction of your dreams?
No habit change is too small.
In fact, if you are overly ambitious with your daily habit changes you might increase your chances of defaulting to your old habits that you no longer serve your goals.
Example: You want to be healthier, eat well and lose weight. Seems simple but requires a dramatic shift in your current habits.
If your plan of action is to set out on day one to run five miles a day, cut out all sugar and carbs, restrict calories, cook all foods from scratch, and not eat after 8pm, I guarantee you will fall off that resolution-wagon by mid-February (if you last that long).
But if you decide how you can tweak your small daily patterns, you can create new habits that stick.
Small daily habit tweaks, over time, will change your life.
Brushing your teeth an extra minute each day, reading two pages of an inspirational book each morning, repeating positive affirmations each evening before bed, sleeping an extra fifteen minutes each day, using a habit tracker daily, sending a loving note to a friend, creating a morning ritual, creating a gratitude journal, using a meditation app five minutes each day, switching to chemical-free house cleansers, … (you get the picture!)
The point is, instead of choosing huuuuuuge goals that are so drastically removed from who you have been for a long time (maybe even a lifetime), take it down to small changes.
Small habit changes that you can tweak to serve your long-term goals better and that you will be less likely to skip or avoid entirely.
And don’t underestimate the power that small daily habit changes can have on your mindset.
You may have read or heard me say this before, but it’s a manifestation mantra of mine this year: Mindset is basically EVERRRRRRRYYYYYYTTTTTHING!
As soon as you make those tiny, but positive, edits to your habits, it becomes contagious.
Your emotions get involved. You suddenly feel like you’re making slow but steady progress.
You begin to feel accomplished and successful at making those small habit changes and those successes motivate you to make additional small habit changes and positive tweaks to your habits.
And if you can change your small habits, you can change your future!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Small habits can make a big difference.
Maybe your small habit change is that you’ve decided to stop drinking diet soda because you want to eliminate artificial sweeteners from your diet.
Just that one habit change is huge. Maybe not in one day, but over several weeks and months, the health impact can be very significant.
Setting out to make that small daily habit change and sticking to it can influence what other daily habits you change or create.
In the spirit of wellness (and your feeling of success) because you removed diet soda from your diet, you are more likely to consider making additional small habit changes – like maybe switching to an aluminum-free deodorant… or no longer reaching to sprinkle extra salt on your food.
Take the time right now to get clear on how you want to live and how you want to feel.
Committing to the habit of gratitude and of being more mindful can have enormous impact on changing your life, how you commit to habit changes, how you feel and the way you live.
A gratitude attitude of training yourself to shift your perspective to all that you have and are, to the blessings in your life, to the bounty and wonder all around you – can change your life. It can help you switch from moments of anxiety and doubt to feeling peace, confidence and courage.
And there aren’t any goals on your 2020 list that wouldn’t benefit from the mindset of peace, confidence and courage!
“Training your mind to be in the present moment is the number one key to making healthier choices.” – Susan Albers, Hanger Management
Mindfulness is another key, hugely impactful, but a small habit tweak that you can make daily and plays out in how you experience the moment, the day, the month… your life.
“The secret of success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell
As we move into this new year, the start of a new decade, I encourage you to dream big but refrain from setting resolutions that would require you to behave in a dramatically different way overnight.
Instead, think of your big dreams and long-term goals, and consider what small daily habits the you who eventually achieves those dreams and goals would have.
“Your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
What would your small daily habits need to be to live that life? To be that person? To have achieved those goals?
What can you begin doing today to change the small habits that change your life and lead you where you want to go?
Cheers to a magical and wondrous 2020, and to the year of the small habit! – Marlene
And for those of you looking to further improve your 2020 habits – join me for my upcoming 5 Day Free Mindfulness Challenge beginning Monday, January 20, 2020. Explore what mindful means and how building a mindfulness habit can transform how you feel and how you approach life (and your 2020 goals!).
Click here for sign up & more details.