Setting a few New Year's resolutions is a time-honored tradition, and a seemingly harmless way to seek improvement in our personal or professional lives. Unfortunately, many resolutions peter out after a month or less. One of the reasons is because it's far easier to develop bad habits than good ones - and so it's easier to slip back into old, unproductive or unhealthy habits.
Studies show that it takes a full six weeks to develop a new, positive habit - and even then, we can be discouraged by a sudden disruption to our new routine. But there are several ways to give ourselves better odds of success!
A classic article in Psychology Today explains that before we can trust ourselves to obey new actions - and establish new habits - we must first establish new thinking. This is where it gets hard. The more you tell yourself not to do something, the more that temptation is lingering in your brain.
Focusing on "don't do that" seldom works, because it isn't enough to change our thinking - and therefore change our habits.
Instead, we have better results when we work on developing new, positive habits surrounding one major goal - which in turn, will alter our thinking to help us look at our other choices with better judgment. It breaks down like this:
1. Set one, new, reachable goal. Create a plan of action to attain it, and a timeline to achieve it.
2. Take small, consistent steps towards the goal.
3. Have an "accountability buddy" for encouragement, support and to objectively measure progress.
4. Think positively about your goal - allow yourself to enjoy the process!
5. Celebrate small milestones!
6. Don't put negative pressure on yourself - instead, focus on the benefits of meeting the goal.
7. If you mess up in some way, don't throw the goal out the window and quit. Allow yourself to adjust your timeline and your game plan as needed!
Some goals are like marathons; the accomplishment is in finishing the race itself, more than how quickly you did it. Stay the course! By not giving up on your goal, or yourself, you'll develop a greater sense of self-discipline and confidence - and you'll be changing your thinking for the better.
Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best for 2018,
Copywriting & Marketing Specialist