Can you believe we’re almost three-quarters of the way through the year already? I know, I know, where does all the time go, right? Soon we’ll be in a whole other decade. And when 2020 rears its head will you be joining the thronging masses vowing to make positive changes as beg ben ushers in a new decade? While we’re on the subject, how are you getting on with the promises you made for yourself at the start of this year? We always start the year with such grand plans and soaring ambitions, and yet life has this obnoxious habit of getting in the way of our grand designs. Most of us run out of steam well before we get to June.
But if your bad habits, in whatever form they take (and it’s okay, we all have some) are getting the better of you, they may be of serious detriment to your quality of life. And if that’s the case, why live with them for another three and a half months? It’s around this time of year when many give ourselves a free pass on behaviours which we could do without, resolving to sort them out when the new year rolls around. But here’s the problem with that mentality.
Leaving it till the new year… and why it almost never works
In an article for Business Insider, psychologist Jonathon Alpert detailed some of the reasons why New Year’s resolutions rarely ever work and the reasons why people don’t follow them through. These include;
- They’re not specific to the people who made them. They’re just hopping on the fallacious “New Year: New You” bandwagon.
- They’re too vague to be achievable or enforceable.
- They’re framed negatively and thus we feel negative about them, seeing them as a form of punishment.
So, don’t wait for a quarter of a year before making positive changes in your life and replacing bad habits with better ones. You can start right here, right now. While everyone’s journey is different, here are some tips that you may find useful…
Get up earlier tomorrow!
Seriously, the most healthy and potent way to affect positive change straight away is to promise yourself that you’ll get up an hour earlier tomorrow.
It’ll be hard at first. But persevere. Set your alarm an hour and 15 minutes earlier and give yourself that 15 extra minutes to take your time waking up. The more you do it, the easier and more natural it will feel.
And you’ll be astonished by how much you can squeeze into that extra hour.
You can go for a jog or a swift visit to the gym. You can do some yoga while listening to a good audiobook or podcast. You can do some meal prep for the coming day or week so that you’ll always something healthy in the fridge and thus be less likely to rely on takeaways, restaurants and pub dinners.
Or simply relax and take your time preparing a delicious and nutritious breakfast that you can enjoy at leisure.
You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes just to be able to enjoy a peaceful, productive and leisurely morning instead of tapping that snooze button time after time, before rushing out the door in a state of panic with a fast-cooling peace of toast clamped between your teeth.
Break the cycle of debt right now
We’ve already talked at length about debt in this post. However, nobody gets into problem debt overnight. It usually comes as the result of bad habits that go too long and lead to a cycle of debt and repayment and more debt.
Of course, you can’t be expected to get out of debt, overnight, but you can start breaking the habits that lead to the debt spiral. For example, just because you don’t have great credit doesn’t mean that your only mode of recourse is falling back on predatory payday loan companies with three-figure interest rates. If you find yourself needing access to credit if, say, an emergency rolls around, don’t assume that you only have bad options. For example, using a guarantor loan company like Buddy Loans can help you to get the credit you need without miring yourself in colossal interest rates.
Aside from that, one thing you can start doing right now is drawing up a household budget and making sure that you stick to it. It’s the most reliable way to prevent the costs of day-to-day living from getting away from you and leaving you with a lump in your throat every time you check your bank balance.
And keep an eye on all those little costs, from the caramel latte on the way to work Monday morning to the cheeky gin and tonic with your friends after work. They all add up by the end of the month.
Stop giving yourself the same old ‘opt-outs’
The two most damaging words in the English language are “I can’t”, especially when we say them to ourselves. And let’s be honest, we say them to ourselves the most. We can’t go to the gym because we don’t have time or are too tired. We can’t cook a healthy meal because we’ve worked too hard. We can’t go out for a brisk walk because it’s too dark.
But by telling ourselves that we can’t, we only succeed in putting limitations on ourselves. And that only makes it harder to break bad habits and replace them with new, better, healthier ones that will make us happier in the long term.
And finally, remember that you don’t have to do all of this by yourself
The most damaging fallacy is to assume that you’re alone in trying to make positive changes and break bad habits. You have a support network all around you. And I’m not talking about the expensive kind of support like personal trainers, dieticians, life coaches and the like (although these can also be useful). I’m talking about your partner who will help you get up early in the morning, your work colleagues who will help you avoid the temptation of those chocolate bars in the vending machines. Your kids who will drag you out the door even when you want to glue yourself to the sofa.
There are people all around you who want to help.