Can you believe it’s 2018 already?! As you know, the New Year typically means you’re going to begrudgingly set up some New Year’s resolutions, swearing to yourself that THIS year is going to be different and you’re going to stick to each and every one of them!
Time for change
The thing is, studies show that only 10% of those resolutions actually stick and the science behind why is interesting. Pretty much everything you do is a habit. Habits are automatic – you don’t even think about doing it, you just do it. You drive to work and stop at the donut shop to grab breakfast and treats for the office. You get home from work and dive into the chips as you prepare dinner. It’s part of your routine and humans LOVE routine.
In order to change your routine, you really need to think about what you want to change and how you’re going to change it. In other words, you have to consciously replace those unconscious habits.
Set the stage
There are a few things you can do to make it more likely that these new habits will stick:
- Start SMALL and be SPECIFIC. Starting with something like “I will get more exercise” is far too broad. Instead, start small and be very specific. Perhaps a good idea is to look at a habit you already have and change it a little at a time. If you want to get more exercise, set a goal of trying a few different workouts and picking your favorite. Or if you just want more general activity, set a goal of parking your car farther from the door or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Schedule your new habit until it becomes automatic. You weren’t born with a habit. Habits are learned and can therefore be unlearned. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes effort and remembering that you want to change this habit to begin with. When life gets busy, you may forget that on January 1st you set a goal to wake up 15 minutes early to go for a walk, or to eat breakfast before heading out the door. So until this new habit becomes automatic, it’s important to schedule it into your calendar, or your planner. Of course, then you have to remember to look at your planner…
- Keep it simple. I know you are eager to ‘get healthy’ in the New Year. And you have a list of habits you want to change. But one of the big reasons people fail to follow through on their “intentions” for the New Year is they pick hard habits to change, or want to change it all at once. Listen, try not to bite off more than you can chew. You need to chip away at your habits by changing them a little bit at a time. You can always add more as time goes on. Success builds on success. You’ll feel better once you start making changes, which will make you more likely to make MORE changes.
Most importantly, you can make these changes ANYTIME; there’s no need to wait until the New Year! Set a few small goals now, and know that you can adjust and add more goals whenever you want.
Write your goals down and keep track of how they’re working for you. You may want to keep a journal so you can reflect on your progress.
Whatever habits you decide to change, have the confidence to know you can do it!
Your Turn to Take Action: What habits will you change in 2018? Let me know in the comments below.