Authored by Kenny Lock
New Year’s resolutions often fail. We get excited about the positive change that we wish to have in our lives at the beginning of every year but our motivation disappear gradually and the things we wish to change never get realized.
What we want is Long-lasting Change — the change that we believe is valuable and beneficial to our lives — the change that will develop into a habit, a routine, and eventually, a natural part of our lives — the change that we keep for a lifetime —
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. — John C. Maxwell
I believe all successful people have a system of countless good habits that they have developed in the past that greatly contributes to their success — some typical daily good habits such as eating healthily, reading and writing a lot, exercising, waking up early, setting goals, and many more.
The truth is that people are not born with these habits — it’s also true that depending on one’s personality and interests, one may find it easier to develop some habits than the other people — but for most people, it takes time, effort, dedication, and discipline.
That is why I started a personal mission to develop effective strategies in order to improve my success rate in creating Long-lasting Changes that I wish to have in my life —
First, let me share with you some of the changes that I have created in my life — Reading daily, cleaning my room daily, learning online daily, saving money, drinking tea daily, eating healthily (low sugar, salt, and oil) — by using the 5 strategies below that have worked pretty well for me personally.
5 Strategies for Long-lasting Change
Do not start with big change.
It is more effective to start with actionable and achievable small steps, add more steps over time, and eventually, you will achieve the big change you want before you can notice.
For example, I have failed many times in the past to maintain the habit of “reading one book a week” because it is too big of a change to start with. I would procrastinate at the beginning of the week and fail to complete by the end of the week due to lack of time.
Then, I started with the smallest step that I feel completely confident in achieving, which is “one chapter a day”. “One chapter a day” is relatively manageable, especially compared to the intimidating sound of “One book a week”. Once I was able to consistently achieve that, I moved on to “two chapters a day”.
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. — Vincent Van Gogh
Break down a big change into small achievable actions, execute them consistently until they become your habits.
Monitor and Improve
It is important to monitor our progress to maintain our level of motivation to continue with the change we desire. When we are able to see the visual representation of how much progress we have made, it gives us a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Here is how I monitor my progress.
A simple table with all my desired changes — small achievable actions — on the left (Read 1 Chapter, Clean 1 thing) and the number of days at the top(Day 1, Day 2, Day 3…).
If I succeeded to complete a specific action in a specific day, a ✓ will be drawn. If I failed, an X will be drawn.
This method works very well for me personally because of two main reasons —
It’s simple and satisfying.
Simple because it is easy and straight forward to input and to read my progress — and very satisfying to draw a bunch of ✓, knowing that I am making healthy progress towards my desired change.
And to improve my progress —
When a seven-day cycle ends, a new table is drawn with refined desired changes (i.e. adding Read 3 Chapters or new actions) or graduate the changes that have matured into a part of my life after being consistently achieved (i.e. Cleaning my room has become a part of my subconscious daily routine) by removing them from the table.
Find an enjoyable way to monitor and improve your progress and you will find yourself on a highway to your desired long-lasting changes.
Utilize the Right Tool
Previously, I have tried to track the progress of my changes using this “Loop - Habit Tracker” —
Although I recommend anyone to try this app, it was not the right tool for me. I would ignore all the convenient notifications and have never been able to create any lasting change.
For some reason, a simple pencil and notebook that I carry with me wherever I go seem to work like a charm for me.
Everyone has their own preferences. Remove the obstacles and distractions. Find and utilize whatever means that are effective in facilitating an environment for you to succeed.
I would draw something I desire at the end of every seven-day cycle.
Here I have a watch, a book, a hoodie, and a camera — I am gonna buy all of them — may be one of them, maybe none of them.
The idea is to create a visual representation of a goal that we aspire to achieve — a goal that motivates us to stay focus and stick with our plan to work on our small daily achievable actions because we know at the end of a cycle, something great awaits.
When we have confidence, we improve our chance in succeeding.
It’s easy to be defeated by our own self-talk — “You will never be able to change.” or “It’s too difficult, let’s give up.”
That is why it’s important to reassure ourselves — by reviewing the progress that we have made — that we are in control of our lives and we are capable of making meaningful long-lasting changes even when it seems almost impossible.
This is simply the beginning and I intend to continuously refine these strategies as I learn more in the future.
There are definitely many more positive changes that I wish to create next — for instance — learning Japanese, sleeping early, and a book a week.
Thank you very much for reading and I wish you could adopt some of these strategies or inspire you to create your own ways to achieve long-lasting meaningful change.
This blog is the #12 of the twenty-five blogs that we are publishing daily, one blog each day from Jan 7th until 31st — written by twenty-five of our members, sharing topics regarding “Change” — to celebrate the official change of our new company name, from HDE to HENNGE on Feb 1st.
For more information about the change in our company name:https://www.hde.co.jp/en/about-us/trade-name-changed.html