One Member’s Goal to Change Habits to Maximize New Year’s Resolutions (Chronicles of a Boot Camp Newbie #3)
As the countdown begins to Christmas, many of us already have our eye on the New Year and all the changes we want to make. Yes, it’s almost New Year’s Resolutions time! Every year, millions of people start making plans (or just wishes) to be healthier, skinnier, more organized, happier, etc. etc. etc.
I’m totally one of those people. I love making grand plans to live a better, healthier, happier life. I enjoy thinking about these plans, I usually write down these plans and I tend to even start putting these plans into action…. And then something happens.
I think we all experience this. As the year progresses, our will power wanes as we don’t see results quickly enough or start to miss those donuts for breakfast or happy hour out with friends. By March (if we’re lucky), we’re back to our old ways until the next year rolls around.
Well I want this year to be different, so I tried to dig a little deeper and see why resolutions normally fail. Fortunately, I happened to pick up a book recently on habits and how powerful they are and it really helped to shed a light on things. I wasn’t able to create lasting change because I was not creating new habits.
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So to get ready to roll in the new year, I’ve decided to focus on THESE habit-changing ideas:
- Replace a bad habit with a good one. One of the reasons we have such a hard time breaking bad habits is because our minds have some sort of pleasure or reward attached to them. For example, coming home after work and enjoying a glass of wine may be attached to relaxing and unwinding. If you just try to cut it out of your schedule, you’re losing the pleasure and your subconscious desperately pushes you to get it back. By replace the habit with a different, healthier one, you can eliminate this subconscious sabotage. In the above situation, come home and make yourself a glass of hot tea just as you would normally pour the glass of wine. If you can attach the same pleasure to the tea, you’ve replaced the habit without losing out on the reward.
- Hook a new habit to an old one. Habit-hooking is the powerful idea that capitalizes on the habits that are already in place. If you always get up to get a glass of water at 5:30 am because you’re thirsty, hook on that each time you get up for a glass of water at 5:30, you stay up another 30 minutes to do some stretching or meditation. If your habit is to explore the break room snack table at 3 pm every day, hook on that after checking out the snacks, you’ll walk around the block a few times.
- Make sure you facilitate the ease of putting your new habit into place. One of the mistakes a lot of people make (me included!) is that they try to create a new habit that’s just too difficult to work into their schedule. You might think you can create the habit of going to the gym over your lunch hour, but meetings that run over, friends who want to meet over lunch and chat or the overwhelming idea of having to change, shower and change again before going back to work are reasons why this new ‘habit’ may never take. What is feasible for your schedule? For me, working out only WORKS for me if I do it first thing in the morning before my daughter gets up and my day gets started. The only difficult thing is getting out of bed when my alarm goes off, but this is a HABIT I can get into.
What are your goals for the new year and which HABITS do you need to change or put into place to achieve these goals? I know that I have a much better chance at success this year because of my focus on the habit rather than the resolution!
Good Luck with Your Resolutions – Member Anonymous