After a great start to the New Year, we’re refreshed and recharged. Maybe you’ve found some new habits that are working well and have brought forward those that have worked in the past and have found them a place in your new routine. For all those who have taken on a lot in terms of change during January, it’s now time to start to transition into a daily routine that continues to energize and feed you – body and spirit! If you’ve taken a BIG step, you may be wondering what happens next as the hoopla of the new year has quieted down and life has again presented itself along with all its daily challenges? You’ve completed that 22-Day ‘cleanse’, that 10K, or you may have avoided sugar for the month or even spirits. You might have attended a boot camp each weekend or finally tackled the closet organizing that you had put off for so long. What now?
We’re all familiar with a jump start, or blast start as some like to call them. Around the first of the year, you’ll hear lots of talk about drastic changes to be made as many go through their list of resolutions. Sometimes the list is a long one with many about-faces in behavior. Sometimes a small one but nevertheless with big expectations. The opposite of taking the smallest first step possible, a blast start can sometimes lead to great success if you know how to move past that first big commitment.
Changing behavior, and then eventually habits, for the long term certainly takes sizable commitment. While blast starts can be demanding, that’s actually part of the fun – and the intensity can energize a habit. By tackling more instead of less for a certain period, you can actually get a surge of energy and focus. You can gain positive momentum!
Can it be helpful to make that initial big commitment? And if so, how do we move forward once the deadline and the goal have been reached? Should we ‘re-up’ or take another approach? A drastic change like going from not exercising to exercising every day, or from existing on sweets to eschewing cookies for a year and so on, while a great momentum builder, is good in the short term but usually likely unsustainable for the long term. Don’t be discouraged. There is good news!
What happens at the end of the cleanse, the monumental exercise commitment, the 22-Day transformation program and so on?. The key is to plan specifically how to shift from the intensity of the start into the habit that will continue (we hope) indefinitely. It’s even a good idea from the outset to set that strategy for transitioning from the intense effort into an eventual daily routine. With a strategy at the ready, all you’ve accomplished this past month will continue to make a positive impact!
So as we usher in February, we’ll look at the next link: willpower. Why does a change for the better sometimes seem so easy to manifest at one moment and at the next moment so fleeting? Kelly McGonigal, author of ‘The Willpower Instinct” has tremendous scientific and anecdotal insight. Her findings make sense to me and I think they will to you too! Hold fast to your new year’s intentions and insights – and stay tuned!