New year – personal change that is sustainable

New year – personal change that is sustainable

It is that time of the year again when some people want to start new life and make new year’s promises to do it. 99% of the promises are filled with good intentions but also with a expectations that new year magically will bring the change. Like Albert Einstein (or a few others too) have said:

“The purest form of insanity is to leave everything as it is and at the same time to hope that things will change. ”

This won’t happen.

How can you change and make the change sustainable? Here is a simple way to create sustainable change in your life.


1. You have noticed that one very concrete behaviour of yours does not work for you.

2. You must be committed and willing to change.

The process:

1. Identify one behaviour that does not work for you. Be concrete and specific.

2. Write down on a paper what do you do now. Maximum two or three sentences Be concrete and specific.

3. Write down what you want to do and what you are going to instead of it. Use “I-language” and have a positive intention. Example: “From today onwards I will___________.” Your new behaviour should not take more than 5 minutes per day.

4. Write down your commitments to do it. Example: “From today onward I will practice my new behaviour every day next 4 week.

5. Find someone you trust who will check with you every day that you really have done something. This person should be neutral and not emotionally involved in the behaviour you are changing. For example a trusted friend is a good choice. This person could, for example, send you an instant message every day asking: “What have you done today?” You do not have to answer if you do not want to. It is just a reminder for you. For some people an automated calendar reminder would do too.

6. Practice your new behaviour every day. Do not cheat. Do not allow yourself to skip days or have any excuses not to do it.


After the 4 weeks you will be surprised that the new behaviour has taken over. The old behaviour will also remain but the new behaviour will overrule the old one. There will be days, for example when you are tired or stressed, when the old behaviour strikes back. Be aware of what happened, do not punish yourself but simply return to the new behaviour.

This method is proven and it is based on brain plasticity research. In practice you create new pathways in your brain which overrule the old ones. You may consider this phenomena as you where building your muscles by weight training. In this case you do not build your muscles but your “brain muscle”.

Happy change and happy new year. 🙂

….yes it works anytime – not only during the new year. 😉

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