Most people do not fulfill their New Year resolutions. Here is a different approach to New Year resolutions that focuses on habits. The habits we form dictate the way we spend most of our time.
The importance of habits
Essentially, most people make New Year resolutions to change themselves or their situation for the better. To make a change in the way you life you need to form new habits. According to Neale Martin (author of “Habit”), the habitual mind controls about 95% of human behaviour, and people tend to do the same daily things 45% of the time (often while not even thinking about it). Others claim that it takes about 20-30 days to form a new habit.
The Habit audit
With the importance of habits in mind, consider the following exercise:
1. Divide your life into different areas
(eg- health, education, spiritual, relationships, career, etc).
2. For each of these areas, what are your meaningful habits?
(eg- under 'health' you might have – exercise 4 times a week, eat 3 pieces of fruit a day, etc)
- "Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them." Agatha Christie
3. For each habit record – why do I have this habit?
(ie- motivation for the habit. For example - Good health enables me to be more effective, and participate in more things.)
4. Are there any habits that I should be stopping? Why?
- “Stopping a bad behaviour can be more productive than doing something right” (Goldsmith & Reiter)
- "A change in bad habits leads to a change in life". Jenny Craig
5. Are there any new habits I should be starting? Why?
- "Good habits are worth being fanatical about". John Irving
6. Prioritise your habits.
Place an A,B or C next to each of the habits you feel you should keep or start. A represents ‘must do’, B represents ‘should do’, C represents ‘ nice to do’.
Forming New Year resolutions
Now let the results from your habit audit feed your objectives for the upcoming year. Further Tips:
- It is also a good idea to only focus on building one or two new habits at a time.
- It often takes around 20 to 30 days to form a new habit. In other words the first 20 to 30 days are the hardest ... so hang in there.
- “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” (Jim Rohn quotes)
- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle, Philosopher)
More to Read 4 indicators that you may be wasting your time with New Year’s Resolutions The Power of Habit - best selling book by Charles Duhigg All the best for new year from the CraveTime Team.