New Year’s Resolutions. Oh, the guilt of tossed aside resolutions of years past.
I’m certainly no expert on New Year’s Resolutions but as I’ve grown older (and hopefully a bit wiser) I have discovered some tips, myths, and mind hacks that have helped me with my own resolutions recently. Maybe these hints will help you too.
1. Focus on your daily routine, not what you are giving up.
Many resolutions focus on deprivation/hardship of some kind.
- Lose weight (translation: don’t eat, diet, or work out).
- Save money (translation: don’t spend).
- Pay off credit cards (translation: don’t spend).
- Stop drinking or smoking (translation: don’t drink or smoke)
This type of resolution requires constant discipline which is an impossible state of mind to maintain.
Instead of focusing on what I am giving up, I instead ADOPT A NEW HABIT into my daily routine that will naturally lead to my desired result.
Last January I committed to attend a four week bootcamp at 5:45am four mornings a week. I told myself that I can do anything for four weeks. It was tough (read more here) but I finished the bootcamp and decided to register for another session.
By the end of the 2nd session, my timeclock was used to waking up early and I started noticing results in my body. I was hooked.
I didn’t commit to any health changes other than just getting myself to bootcamp every morning which is now a part of my natural routine.
2. Success begets success.
Without consciously thinking about it, I started eating less and healthier after I started noticing positive results from bootcamp. I would think, “If I eat this piece of cake, I’m going to feel like crap tomorrow morning. Bootcamp is hard enough as it is.” Result: I naturally started eating less junk.
3. Start small and build on ONE positive habit at a time.
For too many years I tried to do too much at one time. I would try to save money, lose weight, build my business, etc. It was overwhelming and I got nothing accomplished.
When I instead focused last year solely on getting myself to bootcamp (I gave myself permission to have one “small” win for four weeks), I stuck with it. It was just ONE THING I committed myself to. Then, when that was an ingrained part of my daily routine, I was mentally ready to add another new positive habit into my life.
4. Stick with your new activity until it becomes a routine part of your life.
I read somewhere that it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit.
Then you can move onto the next positive habit you want to establish.
5. Work within your ‘limitations.’
I am naturally a morning person and by the end of the work day, I am whipped. I knew there was no way I would ever continue hitting the gym after work because I would be too tired and hungry and would make excuses to skip it. However, as much as that extra hour of sleep would be missed at first, I stood a much better shot making it consistently to an early morning workout than at night.
If you’re trying to save money or pay off credit card debt, set it up to happen automatically so you don’t think about it. You can set up an automatic deposit of a portion of your paycheck to savings, an automatic “sweep” of money from your checking to your savings account, or an automatic credit card payment. In other words, set it and forget it.
6. Pick your next new habit based on what’s bugging you most in your life.
I like to take time to quietly reflect at the end of the year on what’s NOT working well in my life. Weird, huh?
One year I decided it was having to do my family’s laundry. I mean it never ended. The kids would wear a pair of jeans once and throw it in the dirty laundry. It was then that I decided my kids (then in middle school) would start doing their own laundry and they have for the past 5 years! (I figured I couldn’t in good conscience stop doing my husband’s laundry so he’s been safe for a while now.)
This coming year, I’ve decided that what bugs me is the “busy work” that I do that drains my time and energy. So my first habit I will cultivate in 2017 is to delegate more!
My goal is to delegate (or dump) something that I routinely do, but don’t need to be doing, every day for 66 days. I have a feeling this will be more a challenge for this control freak than I anticipate but I’m committed to plough through.
7. Stop procrastinating and just start.
There is no perfect time to start your new habit. You don’t need to start on a Monday, at the beginning of the day, the first day of the month, or the first day of the year.
The minute you decide what your new habit will be, start on it right away.
If you hesitate, you will procrastinate, life will happen, and you will get sidetracked or distracted. So get started right away!
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I want to hear from you. What’s YOUR next habit you will cultivate in 2017? Enter your answer in the comments box below.