I looked at my list of things to change in 2018 and realized that less than half of the items on the list had been crossed off. This was supposed to be the year I made big changes. This was supposed to be the year to add more greens into my diet, become better at networking, and reduce the amount of time spent on social media platforms. What happened to all those good intentions?
I wanted to change my ways but I felt stuck. It was much easier easier to fill my time, and my diet, with procrastination and a lot of carbs. The minimal attempts made to switch things in my daily routine didn’t prevail.
I spent one week in January attempting to add one vegetable to my plate at lunch and dinner. Two days into this game plan, I found myself ordering takeout (lots of pasta and pizza). March was the month of committing to go to one networking event a week. Right before each one started, I found myself curled up on my couch instead. May was the month of ending my social media usage by 6pm every night. That didn’t last a night.
I decided that If I was going to welcome change into my life and tackle these to-do list items, I needed a little bit of willpower and a whole lot of a structure.
Set aside a chunk of time to work through the goal you want to accomplish. Block off your calendar so that you can turn away other obligations. Break down the change you want to make into actionable baby steps. Tackle a handful of those items on a weekly basis.
I selected one networking event a week in June. Taking small steps to commit days before the event was scheduled: I signed up in advance, sent myself a calendar invite, and emailed the host letting him or her know I looked forward to the event. When my mind told me to just go home and watch TV instead of going to the event, I replayed the steps I took to get prepared. It made the decision to go a lot easier.
Get your hands on resources to help you learn how to make that change. Research how to create a personalized action plan. Look for a mentor that can guide you on how to make progress on your goal. Read self-help books or biographies of people who were once in your shoes.
Every day in July, I read a blog post, listened to a podcast, or read a book written by a nutritionist to learn more about how to change my eating habits. I was able to pick up the basics of how much protein to have every day and what kinds of snacks will keep me awake and alert. After a few weeks of doing that, in order to get more help, I asked a friend, who recently switched to a plant-based diet, to be my accountability partner and my mentor.
Put what you learned into motion. Set up a trial period and document the progress you have made, the challenges you have faced, and the skills or tools you still need to learn. Allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Celebrate milestones and moments of success.
August was the month I cut my social media usage by 75%. After making the commitment to spend less time on Facebook and researching tools that people have used in the past, I put a game plan into motion. Every time my hands were about to press a social media app, I set an alarm for five minutes. When the timer went off, It was time to log off. There were some days I pressed the snooze button on my social media alarm. When that happened, I made myself recall three beneficial things I took away from my time on social media. When there were no takeaways, I used that as a reminder to stay on track.
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