We were looking forward to it for so long and then the summer just came and went. The long evenings, the picnics in the park and of course the summer holiday (well I hope you managed to get away for a little bit at least!). And now it’s officially autumn. And all those things you thought about stopping, changing and improving during the summer…
….You’re back at work, you’ve gone through that post holiday email pile and you’ve had time to settle back into the routine. But how’s that new gym class you wanted to sign up to, communicating better with your partner or just taking that little bit more time for yourself? What happened to all those improvements and changes that you were thinking about and decided to make during the summer?
September for us is the real beginning of the year. After all those years in the education system and perhaps the tradition of working hard to finish the harvest ‘are just some of the reasons why researchers believe that, if we really what to make and stick to new resolutions; September not January is the time to take action.
Excuse time is over. If you want real change, you need to put in real effort. And (sorry to say this) but there’s only 3 months left until Christmas!
Now is the time to take action.
Here are 5 things you could to finally make the change from the “getting back into the routine” to “making a new routine”.
1. Make short term goals. Short term goals are more manageable and less daunting, meaning that they are more likely to be completed. Set yourself goals to be achieved by Halloween and Christmas and put them in your Google calendar with reminders. Furthermore, this will help ensure that when it is “New Year’s Resolution” time you already have the momentum of change and it’ll be just a case of keeping up the good work; rather than starting all over again.
2. Get moving. Commit and then do one extra piece of exercise a week. Even if it’s just walking home once a week swapping the weekend day drinks with friends to a walk and a coffee. Making new habits last for the long-term is more likely if the habit change is gradual. And linking exercise to a social activity only further increases your chances of success.
3. Throw as you go. Rather than putting off and off that long-overdue wardrobe clear out, or house de-clutter that somehow never it’s done, throw as you go. You wear an outfit and you think actually I don’t feel good in this, throw. (Or donate to you nearest charity). That broken thing that you’re waiting until it’s really broken before you throw it, throw it (or repair it). Not only will your home only be filled with things that make you happy or serve a purpose, but you will no longer have a constant reminder of how you haven’t taken action. Therefore psychologically reinforcing that you ARE actually making changes.
4. Do what you’ve been wanting to do. Make a list of things that you’ve been putting off doing for ages, and commit to doing one of them every 2 weeks. This could be as simple going to that restaurant you’ve been meaning to go to, message that friend that you haven’t seen for years or finally sign up to that language course. By doing new things, we change our environment and this makes it easier for us to change our habits and outlook as we are forcing ourselves to make conscious decisions rather than rely on those same old habits and unconscious decisions. Another Sunday take-away?!?
5. Read more books. It doesn’t matter where or when, just read. Remember how much you enjoyed reading that summer book. Let’s get an autumn book on the go, and have it read before the Christmas lights (officially) go up. It sounds simple, so why isn’t it happening? Again, small changes. Once a week, instead of reading the news, aimlessly scrolling social media or checking your messages on your commute, lunch break or weekend mornings. Read. Just once a week. Who knows once you’re in the reading routine, you might just like and start reading even a little bit more.
If you want real change, you have to take real action. You have to commit to making long-term changes, which is daunting. But what is more daunting that you have more energy because you’re exercising more, your home is less tidier and you are trying, exploring and learning new things OR more daunting when you’re at the family Christmas party and your Uncle asks how’s your year been and you have to answer “Oh not much. Same old same old really”.
Now is the time to take action.
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