The idea of a brand new year and a fresh start can be hopeful and exciting. I used to think about my new year’s resolutions months in advance, dreaming about the changes I would make and the new and improved version of me. I did way more dreaming than actual changing though. Over the last ten years I took a new approach and have changed everything about my life.
I changed what I ate, what I owned, what I owed, where I lived, what I did for work, and what I thought about myself. I didn’t change any of those things because it was the new year and nothing changed overnight. Here’s why I stopped waiting and why it’s a terrible idea to put your resolutions (or any life change) on hold.
Why it’s a terrible idea to put your resolutions (or any life change) on hold
The future is uncertain.
None of us can predict the future. Who knows what are lives are going to look like in a few months (big picture or little picture). What if you have a big diet change planned for January 1, and you wake up with a sore throat and only feel like eating soup and popsicles? Or what might happen between now and your start date to derail your motivation? Close the gap between inspiration and action and start now. You may not feel as inspired later as you do right now.
It’s hard to navigate the slippery slope of later.
When you know a big change is coming, you may try to make up for what you might be missing later. For example, if you are going to start a new, early morning fitness habit, you might spend the days leading up to it sleeping in and not moving your body. Or, if you are going to cut back on shopping or become debt-free, you may do some extra shopping/spending over the holidays because you know you’ll be changing soon. If your plan is to quit drinking alcohol or eliminate processed food from your diet, you may give yourself permission to over-do it in the days and weeks leading up to day one. What I know from years of personal experience in habit change is that later is a slippery slope.
You may be underestimating the urgency.
The changes you are considering could make a significant impact on your mental and physical health. What if these changes really can’t wait? If you aren’t feeling your best now, don’t wait one more second to work towards feeling better. When you put your health first, you can serve and connect from a place you just can’t access when you are rundown, sick or tired. Do whatever it takes to take care of you.
Every big change is the result of hundreds of tiny steps.
Instead of waiting until the new year or another arbitrary date to go all in, start today with tiny steps. Start by writing down every change you want to make, and then pick one. Don’t worry about picking the right place to start. Each change you make will give you confidence and motivation to make the next one. Next, make a list of all the tiny steps you’ll need to make to work towards the big change. For ideas and inspiration, you can read about six big changes I made and the tiny steps I took here.
Start now and bypass all of the “I’ll start later” pitfalls and detours. Choosing you and what’s best for you is always a great idea.