We’re not big on New Year’s resolutions. People get blasted with New Year, New You shenanigans for about a week, then you’re on your own.
A habit takes A MINIMUM of 18 days to form. Notice my capital italic letters there? Here’s the science. James Clear is a habit guru and a very enjoyable read for anyone looking into habits. It takes a minimum of 18 days, an average of 66 days; and in one study it took up to 264 days to create a habit. I’m sorry if I just put salt on your Cheerios but let’s be real - creating a habit is hard! Habits, goals, resolutions whatever you’d like to call them are very necessary and uberly important. They should be evaluated daily, or at least written down somewhere where you must look at them every day. New Year, New You, No Thanks! A year consists of months, which consists of weeks, which consists of days, which consists of hours. Win the day, win the hour, start winning a lot more than you lose (nobody’s perfect) and the year is a foregone conclusion! Here are some quick habit tips
1. Do it daily for the first thirty days. Setting a goal to do something once a week is actually harder than getting in the routine of doing something every day. For example, if you want to make a habit out of the gym, start getting ready for work at the gym, even if you don’t work out. On the days you’re rushed maybe a quick fifteen minutes on the stepper is doable. 15 minutes of steps is definitely something! Also, on the days off you can utilize the steam, sauna or hot tub to work on some meditation (the head space app is great!) or listen to an awesome book, or podcast. 2. Do not expect perfection. If journaling every morning is your goal, write down at least one sentence every morning. Use someone else’s journal guide (this is an outline for a great five minute journal). This way you can pretend like you’re Hemingway on the weekends, but you create the habit of daily journaling. The rarity will be one sentence, the norm will be one page, but you won’t break the habit. 3. Keep a calendar on the fridge and X off the days you accomplished your goals with your habit. Just seeing how awesome you're doing will make it easier to keep going in the right direction, and it will create a little adrenaline response. It feels good! 4. Know your “why.” Make it big and sexy, or devastating. Tony Robbins is the master of this lesson. For example, Jane wants to quit smoking and says, “I want to be a little healthier so I should stop.” While Sarah says, “I want to quit smoking so I can be an active, physical influence in my grandchildren’s life.” Who has the leverage to quit? 5. Remove temptation! 6. Quantify the benefits. For example: if you want to stop watching TV and you watch TV on average of one hour per day. That’s 30 hours per month, or 365 hours per year. Maybe that 365 hours per year could be spent doing something cool with your kids. Maybe it’s another degree, or a small business. Maybe its 365 hours of mind clearing meditation. Whatever it is, that’s a significant amount of time. 7. Remember the cycle: cue, routine, reward. In example: Cue – get into car. Routine- smoke a cigarette or two. Reward- less anxiety while driving. OR: Cue – get into car. Routine - practice breathing exercises (maybe take a little CBD). Reward – less anxiety while driving. Maybe even spice the reward up a little when you do a good job with your cue and routine? Going back to Sarah from earlier, she could visualize herself running around and playing with grandkids. What a reward! This is also the idea of Pavlov’s dog. The bell rings, the dog salivates because the dog learned to associate the bell with food. Design your own cue, routine, reward system. At least figure out what cue, routine, reward cycles you are currently in and be aware of them. Phone notifications are a biggie! 8. Put your money where your habit is! A few hundred to a few thousand dollars (make it sting but don’t go for broke). Bet someone close to you that you won’t cheat on your habit. If you lose you have to donate that money to a charity you hate, or donate it to a campaign for a political party you strongly dislike.
I hope this helps you all stay on track for 2021!
Until next time.
Stay healthy, my friends!