This time every year, we set our New Year’s resolutions. Often, they are unrealistic or vague and undefined, such as ‘lose weight’ or ‘save money’; ultimately, they fail.
If you are interested in why they fail – you can read this article on new years resolutions and why they fail (biological, psychological and spiritual reasons) here.
Do you want to make lasting changes that align with your goals? Do not rely on motivation. Break your goal into small behaviour changes and make them a habit.
You see the hyper-achievers who accomplish so much in so little time. These people do not have an endless motivation supply. They have wisely used a variety of habits that aid them in their goals.
Habits are vital in many areas of your life, including physical and mental health, productivity, relationships and self-perception. Whether it is to get healthier generally or improve skills, managing your habits is more than half the battle.
Rid yourself of bad habits
Your behaviours mirror the type of person you believe you are (consciously or subconsciously). Reflect on who you want to be and dismantle your limiting beliefs. You can do this through self-directed neuroplasticity (rewiring the brain) through active reflection.
Habits are an effort-saving instinct and emerge automatically. Work your new goal habits into your routine. You can literally fake it until you make it.
Psychologically, the more you do the behaviour, the more you identify with it. Biologically, the more you do it, the more it is ingrained in your brain’s neural network.
As this happens, the habits become easily complete without much thought or resistance. However, this means the longer you have had the habit, the harder it will be to stop.
Set specific cue-based goals
Say your goal is to ‘exercise more’ – try defining the quantity and frequency you would like to. For example, ‘do 15-minute cardio sets everyday.’
Making habits cue-based will help you get going and be consistent without much effort. For example, ‘do cardio sets after brushing teeth and shower before class.’
Small changes, big results
First, make your habit so easy you cannot say no. Your motivation may be inconsistent, so you must consistently make your first behaviour very easy to accomplish.
As you find yourself doing it easily, slowly increase the habit. But keep it easy enough to complete with little motivation.
Never allow yourself to fail to complete your habit consecutively. Slipping up is okay – but do not let slipping be the habit!
People around us easily influence us. As shown many times in scientific literature, we tend to copy the behaviours of those around us.
So, your bad habits may not be your own. Inform your friends of your goals and perhaps invite them to join you.
You cannot view the task of creating habits as a burden, or you will be reluctant to commit. Instead, make your habits fun and enjoyable to repeat.
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