3 Tips To Plan for Your Best Self in 2019

Ok, before you start thinking about what needs to change for 2019, think habits not resolutions. Research shows that 92% of the New Year’s resolutions we make fail. In other words, only 8% of the things that we know we need to change have a remote chance of sticking and becoming a permanent part of our lives. We all have certain behaviors that sabotage our ability to become our best selves. With a proper understanding of what creates habits, we can change. People do it all the time, so why not you?

True change takes awareness AND action. However, I look back on the things that I’m truly proud and grateful for in my life, and I know without the proper awareness of what it took to be successful, I would have continued the path that I was on. Most likely, I would have continued to make the mistakes in my life that led to frustration and despair.

Here are 3 things that you can do to make sure that you succeed at changing anything that is self-destructive in your life.

  1. Take inventory. What are the habits and behaviors that no longer serve you? My favorite saying and personal mantra is “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say”. If you want to know about your life, what is important to you and where your life is headed, look at where you spend your time and where you spend your money. Where you spend your time and money will show you exactly what’s important right now and where your life is headed. If you don’t like where you’re spending your time and money, commit to change it.
  2. Understand the “Cues” that drive your behaviors. According to the New York Times best-selling book. “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, all habits, whether good or bad, have 3 specific components: The cue that initiates the habit, the routine of the habit itself, and the finally the reward that the habit gives us. If you understand the cues that drive your bad habits, you can change them. Don’t focus on the bad habit, focus on what “cues” up the habit. Do you smoke after you eat? Do you snack on the couch after dinner? Do you check Facebook first thing when you get up? Do you skip exercise because there is NO CUE, like meeting a friend at the gym or for a walk? Understanding what cues bad behavior, and what cues or leverage you can put in place to drive good behaviors, is the key to changing bad habits to good habits. Focus on the “cues”, the why, not the behavior itself.
  3. Have a PLAN. A resolution without a specific plan is a dream and eventually you wake up from dreams and nothing in your life has changed. Plans should be specific with a clear direction, i.e. I’m going to go to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday and train with my personal trainer, Noah. They should also be measurable. I’m going to lose 15 pounds, lose 4 inches off my waist and drop my blood sugar 25 points in the next 8 weeks. If your plan doesn’t have a timeline, it is doomed to failure. Remember, it 8 Weeks to Wellness, not 8 Months to Wellness or worse yet “Wellness for Life”.

On January 23th, I will be doing a talk on this topic. It’s called “Feeling Right and Getting Tight in the New Year”. Sign up today and bring a friend. You’ll be glad you did! The sign up information in on the back of this article or you can sign up at the front desk. Here to having a great and productive 2019!

Dr. Dane Donohue