Me: Yes. I am very comfortable with the two New Year’s Resolutions I’ve worked on. Both “reading for leisure” and “meditation” are now a routine part of my day. And I can feel the good they are doing me.
Coach: The way you went about planning and putting them into practise is a case study in how to change your life for the better. What do you put your success down to?
No. 1 End of month reviews of my New Year’s Resolutions
Me: These end of the month reviews are great. They have helped me more than I thought they would to keep my New Year’s Resolutions.
Coach: I’m pleased that you found them useful. Tell me how they helped you?
Me: I found them useful in a number of ways. They helped me to keep on track with my New Year’s Resolutions.They were like having a monthly deadline to meet. Knowing I had to account to you at the end of the month was an incentive to solve problems as they arose. To make up for any slippage that occurred.
Coach: This is not surprising as research shows that people do better with their self-improvement when they discuss it with others. And New Year’s Resolutions are a form of self-improvement.
No. 2 Setting SMART goals for my New Year’s Resolutions
Me: The act of setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Specific goals made things clear and precise for me. It helped me to think though what I was aiming for and what I had to do to achieve it.
Coach: Having a well thought out goal is one of the keys to success in any undertaking. It tells you what your need to achieve. What you need to do to achieve it. And it shows you how to measure it.
No. 3 Introducing one of my New Year’s Resolutions at a time
Me: Your advice to do one of my New Year’s Resolutions at a time was new to me. It took a while for logic of it to sink in. In other years I had always done three or four of them together. I now see that this was a recipe for failure. And I’ve had my fair share of those over the years.
Coach: When you do one of you New Year’s Resolutions at a time it is still quite a challenge. But the difference is that it is a manageable challenge. For you can just about manage to make the time available from your busy schedule to do one resolution.
No. 4 Allowing two months to integrate each of the New Year’s Resolutions into my routine
Me: In previous year’s I believed it took just one month to create a new habit and integrate it into my life style. When you pointed out that it takes two months or so it changed my approach. So I now give myself two months to achieve each of my New Year’s Resolutions.
Coach: This is a very common misunderstanding. Most people tend to believe that it is much easier to change your habits than it is in fact. And that you can do it in half the time that you need in reality. Until you get that right your chances of success are very slim. You may succeed in doing it for a month. But if you stop working on it then you just will not succeed in keeping it up.
No. 5 Keeping a daily record of what you do or don’t do about your New Year’s Resolutions
Me: Your advice to keep a daily record of what I achieved or did not achieve was a great help. It focused my mind and gave me an accurate picture of how well I was doing. It also made it clear to me where and when I had slipped up. I used this information to make up ground so that I managed to achieve my weekly target time and again.
Coach: It also helped that you made these records public for anyone who was interested to see. So when it came to our end of month review I was aware how well you were keeping up with it.
New Year’s Resolution number three
Me: Now that I have successfully got on top of my first two resolutions I am now ready to tackle my third one. My third resolution for April and May is about breathing exercises. My goal is: “To spend ten-minutes each day doing breathing exercises.”
Coach: Have you decided what breathing exercises to use?
Me: Yes I plan to use a group of six exercises described at http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/08/6-breathing-exercises-to-relax-in-10-minutes-or-less/.