New Year. New you? What will you do in 2018? What do you want to keep and what do you want to change? Do you usually make New Year’s resolutions (NYRs)?
Will upcoming year be just another year or a very special year in your life story?
Many people make NYRs and they make them for different areas of their lives. Here is only top 5 NYRs from one of the more recent statistics:
I used to make resolutions like these… and I also failed miserably at implementing them. I was not the only one. Statistic data show that many people fail... To be more concrete: what is the success rate statistics for NYRs (or should I say failure rate)?
Roughly: weak half (44,8 %) of NYRs last past 6 months milestone (source). Which is not so bad as one would speculate. If you ask me: resolutions that do last are the ones that became a new habit. When you repeat a new desired behaviour so many times that you no longer have to put much effort in it, you are on the safe side: a resolution becomes a habit and it is under your skin.
WHO AM I TO WRITE ABOUT THIS?
I can speak (hm... write) about making habits out of my personal experience. I made several personal experiments at implementing different new habits. The one I am most proud of is my daily running or streak running habit.
I am running each and every day since 30th of May 2016. Yesterday I ran my 577th consecutive run! This means I ran each and every day for 577 consecutive days. Now it is more than a habit: want to keep the streak alive! Just to mention: first 416 daily runs were also morning runs (rule was to go on run sooner than 9 a.m. and run at least 2 km).
I will explain why I chose daily running as my core habit in one of my following posts. For the most curious ones here is link to my daily runs Instagram feed since 30.5.2016. And now back to NYR…
9 TIPS AND TRICKS TO MAKE NYRs LAST
NYR can become your best decision ever if you learn how to keep commitment. The easiest way to do so is to transfer resolution into a habit. Let me share a few important elements that will help you keep the promises you gave to yourself (this is what New Year’s resolutions are!):
1) CHOOSE WISELY
Introduce only one new habit (change) at the time. Do not go crazy with decisions like: “I will no longer eat sweets, I will train for marathon and I will stop smoking!” One thing at the time and it better be the habit that will contribute a lot to your general well being.
2) START WITH BABY STEPS
This one is at least as important as number one. Start small. Start realistic. Your targets can be a bit challenging, so it stays interesting, but you can add challenges later and first put all your energy in establishing a firm habit. You are not searching for perfection. You want to get better step by step.
3) MAKE IT YOUR DAILY GOAL FOR A FEW WEEKS
Regular engagement in a new habit is much more important than excessive endeavour from time to time. It is all about making it part of your new life style. If possible try to make daily effort. You want your new habit to become part of you. So it gets under your skin and than it really is easy peasy and fun.
4) CREATE ROUTINES AROUND YOUR NEW BEHAVIOUR
Similarly to brushing your teeth (it is a routine you do without thinking about it) make a routine that will become a habit. It is easiest to do so if you stick to specific times, places, people, equipment, clothes… that are triggers for your routine. Sit down and think about all possible triggers that can help you stick with your new routine. Think also about possible setbacks and about strategies that will help you prevent or overcome these.
5) IT IS EASIER TO IMPLEMENT A NEW HABIT IF YOU BUILD IT AROUND EXISTING ONE
One good tip is also to build a new routine instead of existing one (if you want to get rid of certain behaviour and replace it with a better one) or as upgrade of existing one (you already go on your daily walk, now you will just add 1 km of jogging).
6) MAKE IT PLEASANT AND FUN
This one may seem as impossible for some of new behaviours that you want to introduce to your life. It is usually easy to find ways to make almost any endeavour (more) pleasant and fun! Use your imagination. (My daily runs are really interesting also due to the decision that I will make one photo on each run and post it on social media: my daily runs Instagram feed since 30.5.2016
7) REWARD YOURSELF
Rewards are essential part of successful introduction of any new habit. Part of reward is usually in habit itself (eating healthy benefits your overall wellbeing and keeps the weight off). But we are creatures who seek immediate gratification. So find healthy rewards that will add motivation and help new habit stick. Can be something very small (one episode of your favourite TV show, piece of chocolate or the like) and it has to be something that means something to you. After certain number of repetition of new behaviour you will no longer need the reward (habit benefits will be reward and you will be in a habit mode). But in the beginning it is very important element for success.
8) CONNECT WITH OTHER PEOPLE WHO ASPIRE THE SAME
If you are losing weight, want to improve your fitness level or want to stay within the budget… try to find friends (real or on social media) who aspire to do the same. It will be good for strengthening will power and finding help, encouragement and motivation. Anything is easier if you have friends.
9) WHEN YOU FAIL (YOU VERY LIKELY WILL) BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Last but not least: you are not searching for perfection. If you overeat or skip a training or spend a bit more than in your planned… it is not the end of the world. It is just one little lesson learned to be used in future behaviour. No need and no use to berate yourself. Just put all your energy that you would usually use to tell yourself what a disappointment you are into new strategies that will help you to stick with your good new habit next time.
These were the 9 tips and tricks on how to stick with your desired behaviours in 2018.
There is more of them and I am curious to hear also from you: which tips and tricks do you recommend for implementing a new behaviour in your life in 2018? Please put them in comments.
Thank you for reading and commenting!
I wish you a happy New Year and many useful and beneficial new habits that will make your days, weeks, months and the whole 2018 the best year ever!
p.s.: My post is based on personal experience and knowledge and information I grasped from articles and books about habits and productivity in recent years.