Build on the good habits you started in 2018, to make your 2019 your best year yet.

We’re all tired of the whole ‘new year, new you’ concept, right? Rather than making wild New Year’s resolutions that would mean a total personality makeover, why not focus on building on the good habits you started in 2018? 

‘You’re more likely to feel motivated, and believe that your goals are attainable, when they’re built upon positive habits you are already succeeding with,’ says Durban-based counselling psychologist Rakhi Beekrum. ‘Focusing on positive habits or qualities you already have will put you in a resourceful state of mind,’ says life coach Esme Witbooi. We spoke to four individuals who are putting this into practice for 2019.

‘I quit smoking in December of 2017 and maintained it through 2018,’ says Leila Emdon (31). ‘I also started and maintained going to Pilates, and I’m hoping to add more exercise in 2019.’ 2019 game plan: ‘Leila should reflect on the benefits of quitting smoking,’ says Beekrum. ‘Other than health-related, social and financial benefits, having stopped smoking has reinforced her sense of willpower. In the new year, she could add another workout day per week or extra time per exercise session. It will also help to reflect on how Pilates has benefited her physically and mentally, which will encourage her to train more often.’

‘In 2018, I actively worked on cutting out of my life the things that don’t contribute to my wellbeing,’ says Edwain Steenkamp (28). ‘This included mindless TV, social media and spending time in shopping malls. I was shocked at how much time this opened up in my life. I started doing creative things again, like sketching and playing the piano. My goal for 2019 is to commit to my creative side by signing up for art and music classes.’ 2019 game plan: ‘It can be highly therapeutic and empowering to get in touch with one’s creative side,’ says Beekrum. ‘Edwain should look for classes that help him do more of what he loves and improve his skill.’

‘I stopped drinking and partying at the beginning of 2018 in order to focus on more important aspects of my life, like close friends, business, personal growth and health,’ says Thys Potgieter (37). ‘Not being hungover meant I was so much more productive. However, I’ve realised that balance is the key. You can’t work all the time, watch nothing but motivational seminars and eat kale all day long. That’s not healthy either. So for 2019, I want to teach myself moderation and balance.’2019 game plan: ‘Balance is key!’ agrees Beekrum. ‘People have different ideas of success. We often equate more money with success, but experience teaches us that success also consists of factors like good health and healthy relationships. So once Thys has a picture of what success means for him, he will find it easier to make the desired changes. This could mean taking a yoga class once a week; eating healthily 90% of the time and allowing an indulgence once a week, or watching fewer motivational seminars but making it a priority to put what he’s learnt into practice.’

‘I thought I’d always be one of those people whose credit card was at the limit, but in 2018 I finally got out of debt,’ says Lesego* (42). ‘In 2019, I want to take it a step further and start saving and investing.’2019 game plan: ‘Debt is a huge teacher,’ says Beekrum. ‘Lesego should give herself a pat on the back! She will benefit from examining her income and expenditure and looking at where she could cut back in order to start saving in 2019. She could speak to a financial advisor to discuss the investment options that will be best suited to her. It helps to focus on the rewards of saving/investing – whether it’s travel, education, assets or a secure retirement. When the reward is in mind, it’s easier to save.’
*Last name withheld

  1. ’Don’t get carried away with grandiose resolutions,’ says Beekrum. ‘For example, instead of saying you’ll lose 10kg, rather resolve to simply eat more healthily.’ 
  2. ‘Focus on the smaller, everyday habits that will help you reach your goal,’ she adds. ‘If it’s weight loss, focus on cutting out sugar, giving up fizzy drinks or training three times a week.’ 
  3. ‘Surround yourself with others who are eager to improve the quality of their lives and bring out the best in you,’ says Witbooi. 
  4. Use visual reminders to help you stay motivated. For example, you could stick a picture representing your goal on your bathroom mirror.
  5. Set goals for you. ‘Goals that are externally motivated (to please others or for validation on social media) are easier to give up on,’ says Beekrum.
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HOW TO BUILD ON GOOD HABITS IN 2019 HOW TO BUILD ON GOOD HABITS IN 2019 Reviewed by Jet Club on December 21, 2018 Rating: 5
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