Change is a Process, Not an Event: Three Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
Every year around Jan. 1, more than 50 percent of people resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, live healthier, save money, stop drinking and move up in their career, among other goals. And yet, most research tells us that up to 80 percent of those New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned sometime in the month of February.
Resolutions do not have a high success rate for two specific and common reasons: the intention behind the change and the way in which we perceive change to take place. Without awareness and a clear reason why, there’s no driving motivation to change. Without confidence, self-doubt creeps in and causes setbacks.
At Skyterra, we do not want you to become part of that statistic when it comes to building habits and catalyzing change in your life. To that end, start by recognizing that change is a process, not an event. We are here to help guide you through that process.
There is a reason that guests hear about the Triangle of Change during Inspired Intentions, the first class offered each week at Skyterra. Whatever life change guests seek, they can use this model to their advantage so habits are sustainable and make a real difference.
The Triangle of Change comprises the three simple steps below which are essential to creating significant, sustainable change.
Step Number One: Create Awareness
The first and top of the Triangle of Change calls us to create awareness in our lives so that we can make meaningful change. Why is awareness so important in the first place?
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the day-to-day. We work long hours and forget to rest. We make ourselves readily available for others and their needs and in turn, for better or worse, that draws focus away from us and our needs. Life speeds up and when we fail to slow down, we miss out on important things to notice about the way in which we are living and who and what we are living for.
It’s important to note that we cannot create real, long-lasting change if we do not slow down and become self-aware of how we are living. So many of us are not fully aware of how our habits and routine behaviors impact our health. Or how the things that we say yes to may be getting in the way of how we actually want to live.
Remember: every time you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.
If we want to make sure our life looks the way we want it to in the future, we must pause and take inventory of the smallest moments of our day. So how do we get in touch with who we really are? What is the best way to create self-awareness?
At Skyterra, we suggest a life account reflection on a quarterly basis to review five components that can help measure how you spend your time: These categories are:
- Family, by blood or by choice
- Fitness, which encompasses overall wellbeing and embodies physical but also mental and emotional fitness
- Fun, which defines doing things that fill your cup and bring you joy. Are you planning for it regularly in your life?
- Financial, which defines professional health, planning for your future, and happiness in your career
- Faith, which begs the question, are you connected? How do you connect to something higher, whether that be through religion, nature or a combination? Do you feel like you are living in your element, doing things you are naturally passionate about?
Set aside some time for non-judgemental reflection that gives you tangible feedback:
- Rate your involvement and satisfaction in each account, one being “I don’t feel like I’m fulfilling my potential in this life account” and five being “I feel like I am fulfilling my intentions here and I know the steps to do so”
- Ask yourself, “What’s the one thing I can do that can lead to those lower life accounts being rated a little higher on the scale?”
Recognize that many components interact with one another. In addition, notice what you are perhaps giving too much to and what you are neglecting. Sometimes, drastic change is desired after a life account reflection, but more often than not, a simple switch in our thought patterns surrounding one particular life account works wonders. If and when you fall backwards in the process of creating change, notice that as well and allow it to be helpful information.
Life looks different once you’ve cultivated awareness. You have a clearer picture and are more firmly connected to how you actually want to live. Self-reflection and honesty with yourself is challenging, and yet, it’s crucial to effectively design the tangible steps to get you to your envisioned outcome.
Remember: You deserve to have a deep understanding of how you have been living so that you can course correct and ultimately start living the way that you want.
- Print THIS free Inspired Intentions Template from Skyterra at Home, and complete Step 1, the life account reflection activity described above. Try to give it adequate time and attention so as to ensure your reflection is purposeful.
- Make note of your strengths and weaknesses. Know your strengths so that you can apply them to the change you want to cultivate, and know your weaknesses so that you have a better understanding of yourself and how you operate.
- Take inventory of your life accounts in tangible increments, for example, every 3 months, so that you can evaluate what needs to be changed or redirected.
Step Two: Cultivate Clarity
The bottom left of our Triangle of Change model is where the fun begins and where we start casting where we want to go. Here, we cultivate clarity in our vision and get to a place of understanding what we actually want in clear terms. By getting specific with what we want, we can set a more straightforward target to get there.
If we don’t know where we are going or have a deep understanding of what it will feel like when you reach that target, it’s more taxing to get motivated and go after change in the first place. When we take steps toward an unclear target, we work harder, not smarter. Say you’re going to drive to a friend’s house that you’ve never been to. It’s best to know the address of the location first so you can take the most clear and direct route, rather than driving around aimlessly.
Our target needs to be set based on wants versus shoulds. External motivators drive I should targets whereas internal motivators drive I want targets. The clarity we are trying to cultivate is the connection between what we want and how we’ll feel once it’s attained. Examples of this thought process include:
- “When I nurture my relationship with food, I will feel _____________”.
- “When I lose the weight, I will feel ______________”.
- “When I define this boundary in my relationship, I will feel _____________.”
It is within this correlation that we see our target clearly and distinctly, and it becomes the fuel for your daily efforts.
The best way to cultivate clarity is to begin by asking yourself the right questions. This will allow you to uncover a clear, well-defined vision statement that will become not only the guide, but the fuel for your daily efforts.
Your vision statement should detail:
- Where you are going
- Why you want to go there
- How you are going to feel when you get there
- Who you are going to become in the process.
Identify two new things that you will have achieved in three months as a result of the actions you will take. Describe a new version of yourself that has achieved their desired outcomes. How will you look at yourself differently and what new aspects of your identity will you have cultivated?
Remember: No matter how far you feel from your vision, it always comes down to asking the right questions and allowing the space for clear communication with yourself. After you gain clarity, you will feel more energized, motivated and excited about life. You will have everything you need to step into your best self.
- Grab your Inspired Intentions template once again, complete Steps 2 and 3, and set aside some time to design your vision.
- Identify two outcomes and link a few whys for each
- Define your new identity in one clear and concise sentence.
Step Three: Build Confidence
The third and final component of our Triangle of Change tells us why and how to build confidence to secure long-term change. Through confidence and self-efficacy, we build faith in ourselves, which is an essential component of making habits stick.
Having self-confidence defines being in a state of trust with one’s self. Being confident in your capabilities and trusting that you can continue carrying out a desired behavior is essential to moving forward in the process of creating change.
When you think about building and shaping a habit, at the end of the habit loop you’ve established is the internal reassurance that you can actually keep living in that desired way — and you don’t know if you can until you practice over time. Have patience and believe that confidence will develop eventually without any particular timeline.
By building the confidence necessary to consistently carry out one action, you can move onto whatever next action is needed to further improve your life. Not only should you put thought into the aforementioned what and why components of your change, but you should also thoroughly entertain how you can make your habit easier for yourself to practice. Determine what’s getting in the way of you living your vision and work to lessen or eliminate it.
At Skyterra, we often notice that our guests have one domino getting in the way of other dominos falling into place. While we are often quick to add to our lives, when it comes to building confidence, you might actually need to remove that one thing that is ultimately getting in the way of you subbing the new additions. What are the habits that you might need to break in order to make space for your desired outcome to make headway?
Once confidence is achieved, you will see the effects as you begin to attack life in a new way. Change happens even faster as a result of the trust in yourself that has been newly attained.
Remember: The behaviors you decide to pursue today just might be the ones that take you to your vision, but know that a constant redesign process surrounding how you structure your life is OK, normal even. Stay patient and remember that it takes time to build confidence.
- Print THIS Building Habits Template and THIS Changing Habits Template, both free from Skyterra at Home. Use them to guide you in designing the steps that will lead you to your vision.
Looking for more information about how Skyterra can help you change your habits and change your life? Click here to visit our website. Dive deeper into the Triangle of Change by tuning into the following episodes of the Inspired Intentions Podcast: