As the leaves start to change colour and the children go back to school, I always view autumn a bit like the new year. Maybe it’s because I used to be a teacher that I always see this time of year as a great opportunity to create some changes. A new academic year is the natural time to get back into routines, makes a few fresh starts, create some new habits and have some better intentions.
Was it just me, but who else used to have that sense of anticipation for the chance of a fresh start with the new school year? When you had an unspoilt exercise book to write in, a chance to reinvent your handwriting (again), new pens in a clean pencil case, everything would be neater and tidier than last year with great intentions on working harder and getting homework done on time? Anyone else??
So as autumn begins, all the excuses we used in the summer of wanting to relax more, taking things easy, enjoying family time, making the most of the weather (!) start to lose their impact as things step up a gear again and get back into a routine.
One of the problems with January New Year Resolutions is that it’s still cold, dark and miserable outside. The keen and eager commitment you might make about …. doing the Couch to 5km app, or joining an early morning Bootcamp, or getting out and meeting friends more, or going on that diet ….. can sometimes be doomed before you even start because all we really want to do is hibernate, stay warm and indoors. If the conditions aren’t right, we will automatically find a way to avoid doing what doesn’t feel comfortable.
It’s not you being a failure or not trying hard enough or lacking motivation – it’s natural self preservation, and as humans we will always follow the path of least resistance and avoid change.
So that is why NOW is the perfect time to create some new changes. The weather is still good for getting outside, the night’s are still relatively light, new classes and courses are being advertised to enrol on – have a look and see if anything interests you especially if you want to stretch your mind and learn something new. Basically, anything you start now has a much better chance of becoming embedded in your mindset and your daily routine before the cold, dark days of winter are here.
So it’s time to turn the page in your new exercise book, take out your favourite pen, write your name in your neatest handwriting and make a list of the changes you’d like to make.
Top 3 tips for creating lasting change
1. choose something you like
Even with the best will in the world and a bucketful of motivation if you try and create a new habit doing something you don’t actually enjoy that much, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t stick and you give up.
Choose something you know you will enjoy, maybe something you have always longed to try or that you used to do years ago and were pretty good at. This will keep the motivation and interest going, you will feel good about yourself for sticking with it and it’s much more likely to become part of what you do.
As new and enjoyable habits start to embed themselves and feel more natural and part of your routine, you will find it easier to introduce more new things.
2. change the time
Sometimes we just need to change the time of day that we do our new habit or our change. If you are not a morning person then signing up for a 6.30am BootCamp club may not seem such a great idea a few weeks in.
Feel free to try different times of day to see which feels better and fits in. Don’t give up just because that initial attempt didn’t work very well in your day.
3. Make a ‘one time’ change
Sometimes to create a better habit or improve an area of your life you may need to make a ‘one time’ change. If you are wanting to improve your sleep – maybe installing blackout blinds or removing the TV from your bedroom could be the simple ‘one-off’ change you need to make.
One of the best changes I made about a year ago after reading “Tiny Habits“ by BJ Fogg, was to start charging my phone downstairs every night. This meant I wasn’t able to scroll through it just before I went to sleep and I wasn’t tempted to start looking at it as soon as I woke up. I now go to sleep sooner and more quickly (after reading a good old fashioned book), and I wake up bright and early and actually get up rather than wasting time on my phone. I can honestly say it’s one of the best and easiest changes I have made!
If you would like more tips, advice and help to start a new habit or create some much needed changes in your life, or maybe you feel you need some help to stay motivated and be held accountable for your choices – please feel free to give me a call.