Use The Power of Habit to Stick To Your New Year's Resolutions
DO YOU KNOW WHY MOST NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FAIL? THEY FAIL FOR ONE SIMPLE REASON: THEY NEVER BECOME DAILY HABITS.
It's that time again and, for many of us, that means we have a few New Year's Resolutions. This might mean having more productive mornings, eating healthier food, learning that new hobby, or finally joining that bootcamp at the local gym.
But here's the problem. Resolutions quickly fade. By mid-February, we can easily forget all those well-intentioned resolutions.
Habits, on the other hand, stick. Why? Habits are automatic. We don't have to think about doing them. They just sort of happen, operating in the background of everyday life. The secret to making all those New Year's resolutions stick is simply this: turning them into regular, daily, habits.
This year, let's set our goals and stick to them! Follow these tips to help you be the best you can be. Here are my seven strategies to help you use habits to stick to your resolutions!
Are you ready?
STACK YOUR NEW HABITS ON TOP OF EXISTING HABITS
Habit expert James Clear calls this technique "habit stacking." It's the idea that we increase our likelihood of building a new habit by tethering it to an existing habit. For example, let's say you want to build the habit of meditating for five minutes each day. One way to build this habit would be to say to yourself, "I'm going to try to meditate for five minutes each day." A better way would be to stack it on top of an existing habit, to say to yourself, "After I brush my teeth each morning, I will meditate for five minutes."
MAKE A 100 PERCENT COMMITMENT
Building a habit requires doing it every day until it becomes automatic. And that requires a mindset of 100 percent commitment to doing this new habit every day, no matter what. Ironically, it's much easier to commit 100 percent than it is to make a 95 percent commitment. That 5 percent, after all, invites all sorts of indecision and internal struggle. It fuels the voice in your head that says, "it wouldn't be that bad if I skipped just this one day, would it?" With a 100 percent commitment, that voice loses its power.
CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS YOUR NEW HABIT
Research on habits indicates that the environment you live and work in plays a powerful role in shaping your habits. If you want to lose weight by eating healthier food, for example, living in a house with an endless supply of ice cream, donuts, and junk food makes it really difficult to succeed. A better strategy is to create a context that supports your new habit, in this case, to remove the foods that tempt you and stock your kitchen with healthy options.
Stanford researcher and habit expert BJ Fogg notes in his book Tiny Habits that the key to habit formation is to start with small steps you can realistically achieve. If you are new to running, for example, starting with a 10-mile run is a recipe for failure. It's better to start with a mile, then 2 miles, then three miles, and so on.
REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
What can we control in our lives? We cannot control the weather or the company we work for suddenly deciding to lay people off through no fault of our own. We cannot change another human being, only ourselves. Before I tried to control others, and I failed miserably. Once I finally accepted that the only person I can change is me, it became kind of freeing. I can stop worrying about the other person or devising my next plan to try and get them to do this or that. Believe me I wish I could control my children, especially when they are having a meltdown at the grocery store but I cannot. What I can control is how I talk and act around them and the boundaries I set with them.
BEGIN EACH DAY WITH TIME FOR YOURSELF
I used to stay up late and get up just in time to get dressed and go to work. After realizing my day starts off rushed and often ends with me being entirely exhausted, I started making myself get up early. Now my morning time is somewhat sacred to me – my time for silence. I have no children awake and I have time for me to think about my day. I use this time for prayer and meditation, but it can just be quiet time before the rush of your day, or even planning time to sort out your day. Each and every day I do this, my day goes so much better.
BE ENCOURAGING TO OTHERS
We live in a world full of negativity, natural disasters, loss and sometimes plain hatefulness. Terrorism is a reality, race relations are still an issue and most everyday you turn on the news, it seems to get more depressing. We have the power to change what is put out into the world. Tell someone they did a good job today. Ask a co-worker if you can help do anything for them. Call up an old friend and see how they are doing. Tell your waiter or waitress you truly appreciate their service and leave a nice tip. Pay for the coffee of the car behind you in the Starbucks line. Kiss and hug your kids extra today. Meet your neighbors if you haven’t already and offer an open door if they ever need anything. We have the power to bring encouragement and love into this world. Why not start today?
MAKE AN OVERALL GOALS LIST
I did not want to make a goals list previously because I did not want to fail. The truth is, it was not horrible for me if I failed at my goal. It was horrible for me to never even try. Failure is a learning experience and there is no reason to fear failure. Statistics show that 50% of people who write down and set goals achieve them over people who do not set goals. If you write your goals down, you have something tangible and real once you make the list. Post it somewhere visible to remind you. Check back every month or so and celebrate even the small steps you have made towards your goals.
It's so important to realize how much power we have over our actions. Overcoming something like procrastination is as easy as realizing you can have the willpower and the ability to accomplish it right now.
If you can turn your resolutions into habits, they will slowly shift from requiring enormous amounts of motivation and will to becoming automatic daily rituals that stick with you throughout the rest of the year.
Wishing you all the success,
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Also in MOTIVATION
How often do you hear yourself saying the following sentences? I will hit the gym tomorrow... I will start eating healthy from next week... I will organize my closet soon...
We, humans, feel comfortable doing things we do everyday. Any task that requires us to step out of our comfort zone, becomes annoying and burdensome. It is perfectly alright to procrastinate once in a while, however, if you want to make some serious changes in your life, you have got to step up your game!
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