Ask any sports coach, mentor, or teacher about the old adage “practice makes perfect,” and all will reiterate this key point: habits are fostered, slowly—not created overnight. So as you craft that new year’s resolution list, or if you’re simply looking to set some new routines in motion for 2022, here are a few key takeaways from those that lead by example.
Start Small. All too often we bite off more than we can chew, creating grandiose plans to change too many things at once. What do you most want to implement to create positive impact in your life? Pick one or two things—not a list of 10—that are most important to you, and make a plan. As an example, if meditation feels pivotal, start by meditating for 10 minutes a day, versus thinking you need to master meditation quickly. Set the time aside, but remember routine is paramount. Soon enough, routine becomes habit.
Trend Watch. We all will get bombarded by social media and marketing campaigns in the coming weeks about weight-loss plans and cleanses, financial planning, and up-leveling work success via various programs. All of these are respectable goals, but don’t fall for the tried-and-trending. Fad diets come and go, yet the goal is a lifestyle shift, yes? Be realistic about nutrition and fitness goals—burnout is real, and crash-course diets don’t retain true longevity, no matter how enticing the shortcuts may sound.
Bet on a Buddy. The best way to create long-lasting habits? Hold yourself accountable. Wrangle a workout or running partner to motivate you on those days when ambition is fleeting. We’ve all heard the saying: showing up is half the battle. No one regrets a workout, and we generally leave the gym feeling better than when we walked in, both physically and mentally.
Guiding Lights. Whether seeking a new mentor, inspirational book, or simply creating a vision board for your bedroom, surround yourself with inspiration, and write things down. It’s a proven fact that when we put pen to paper (or notes on your iPhone), our brains are more willing to do the work. As for inspiration, new books Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant and Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart are great reads to get those mental wheels turning.
Have Fun With It! Building new habits? It should be FUN. And, rewarding. Create a new workout playlist, and once you’ve reached a milestone in your fitness goals, treat yourself. A massage? You’ve earned it. A Sunday Funday where you can wine and dine with your bestie? Go for it. Saved that nest egg you’ve been striving for? A little retail therapy is in order. And remember, self-compassion is key, too. Let’s face it: real change isn’t easy. So if you fall off the horse, so to speak, get back up, and forgo the shame cave. As famous author Cheryl Strayed quotes in her book, Brave Enough (another amazing inspirational read), “You can’t ride to the fair unless you get on the pony.” Happy 2022!