Why is making positive resolutions to change so easy to make on a Sunday morning - and so tough to keep three days later?

We've all made resolutions to improve our lives for the better, more often than not at monents of crisis. However, implementing these changes (and sticking with them!) is often pretty tricky, and we fall back into old habits.

Business coach and life strategist Simon Alexander Ong is passionate about helping people make the most of their lives and living well - so who better to speak to about how to make positive changes which will last?

Why do people find it so hard to make positive changes in their lives?

From my experience, I would say there are two contributors which stop many people from making changes. The first is that a lot of people I’ve spoken to only seem to be vaguely 'interested' in making changes.They'll say stuff like “I really need to do something about this” every single year, and then complacency, indecision and inaction steal years of their life. It’s why nearly everyone who makes New Year’s resolutions will have broken them within just a few weeks of the new year! If you are serious about making positive changes and taking your life to the next level of success, you’ve got to be ‘committed’ to the journey. Enthusiasm is common, but commitment is rare.

The second is what I call ‘comparison-itis’. Many of us are so busy worrying about what others think about us and comparing ourself to others (primarily through social media) that we have little time to focus on making necessary changes in our life. The key here is to focus less on others and more on becoming a better person than who you were yesterday.

A lot of psychologists have said that it just takes one thing to ‘unlock’ a new mindset - such as starting a diet, tidying the house, or walking to work. How can people find the habit which works for them, which will help them build towards a happier life?

It’s all about experimenting and being open to trying new things out to see what works and what doesn’t. What you could do first is list all the key habits that define your typical day, then evaluate whether each of these are bringing you closer to where you want to be or are hindering you. Finally, explore new, more empowering habits you could begin embracing.

It’s this self-awareness that can often provide us with the perspective we need and the impetus to take action on changing our default direction.

You’ve turned your life around - and you’re a successful life coach. What was your turning point and why?

There were a number of things that happened, which together, helped to change. However, if I had to pick just one point, I would have to say it was when I took full responsibility for where I was and where I was going, as well as surrounding myself more with ridiculously inspiring and positive individuals who elevated my mindset.

It’s easy to blame others for where we are right now in our lives, but it’s hard for many to look at themselves in the mirror and accept the responsibility to change things for the better.

How do you make sure you don’t fall back into old habits, and keep a positive mindset?

The key for me is having an exciting vision of what I’m working towards and prioritising my health and everyday environment.

When I’m connected to a really big personal vision, I can envision in my mind the person I need to become that will support the journey towards making that a reality.

I’ve learnt that one of the ‘secrets’ to success can be found in our daily routines; our daily choices, habits and rituals matter. Your habits are either moving you closer to where you want to be or they’re not.

When you’ve got a powerful vision and have deep reasons for wanting to accomplish that, the inevitable obstacles and challenges you will face will feel small in comparison.

Prioritising health and my environment is also essential to keeping a positive mindset. I begin each day with exercise, whether that’s weight training, a bootcamp style class, swimming or yoga, because it puts me in the best possible state to take on whatever the day may throw at me. And with regards to my environment, I read plenty of books, listen to audiobooks, follow successful leaders on social media and attend events where I can learn from others’ wisdom. What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body.

People might feel apprehensive as there’s so much they need to change in their lives. Where should they begin? How can they find their focus?

Start small. Always. If we focus on everything we need to change from the get go, then we will feel overwhelmed by it all.

The focus should be on starting by taking committed action and then building momentum, because a series of small wins can do wonders for our confidence and self-belief.

Think about the part of your life that you feel is the most important to address right now. And then take a moment to reflect on this: what could you do, which you aren’t doing now, that would be game changing on a regular basis ?

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Image courtesy of Simon Alexander Ong

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