How to make a change stick

2011-year-resolution-400x400How’s it going so far with your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you fallen hard off the wagon of virtue (which can describe any habit at all that you are trying to break or bend)? I usually start the year running hastily in the direction of my desired change, and then about a week or two in, my enthusiasm wanes.

And I don’t think that I’m alone.

The reason for this is that to make a commitment to change, you need to recognize change for what it is, and treat it (embrace it) accordingly. Is your goal this year to become financially fit? Recognize that success lies within making small changes to daily habits and to your attitude towards spending and saving.

Look at the calendar

Apparently, it takes 30 days to form a new habit. So, instead of blinking your eyes and instantly becoming the new you (wouldn’t that be easier?) plan to work your way through a month.

Simple steps

You can’t make a major change in one big motion. Think whittling away rather than cracking with an axe. If your goal is to make positive financial changes for instance, commit to small steps initially, like bringing your lunch to work, or deciding to use coupons as part of your shopping routine.

Once you make a small change, it is easier to incorporate other changes.

Find a friend

It’s easier to do anything if you have someone else making the change alongside you.  It provides you not only with motivation; it also provides you with accountability- which can lend directly to success.

Alter your thoughts

Instead of saying “I can’t” when you feel like you can’t accomplish what you’ve set out to do, try replacing that with “but”. As in, “This is hard, but if I keep at this I can see it through.” You control what and how you think.

Track your progress

Baby steps add up to giant leaps over time, but you won’t know unless you are actively paying attention. Track your progress not only to see how far you’ve come, but to encourage you to keep going.