“New year, new me.” Can you actually hear my eyes rolling? You’re going to read it approximately 893 times over the next few weeks as people are going all-in for their New Year’s Resolutions. As if the moment the clock ticks from 11:59 to 12:00, there’s this magical transformation that goes on and suddenly you’re this brand new person. One who makes all the healthy choices when you eat, puts aside money in your savings every month, and is readily more honest with people about how you feel.
I don’t want to sound too harsh, so hear this in love, but THAT’S CRAZY!
Resolutions are overplayed. If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I’m all for healthy change. But resolutions don’t usually get you there. Most of the time they’re shallow (“I’m going to be true to myself this year!”), unattainable (are you really going to go from zero exercise to running 5 miles every day?), and short lived (most resolutions are dead in the water by the second week of February).
If you’re the type that LOVES resolutions (I see you with your shiny new notebook and pen) don’t think you’ve got to abandon it all. There is a lot of good that comes from the mindset of being ready for something new. It means you’re focused and at least looking for a new start. Unfortunately it’s more than making a list and checking it off once it’s accomplished. I hate to break it to you, but that’s just not going to cut it. Especially for something that’s nuanced or complicated. Instead of just looking at the things you want to stop or cut out, you get to take an overarching look at your lifestyle. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not and make the commitment to push towards something better.
Here’s where the magic happens. Are you ready for it?
Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, create New Year’s Habits.
Habits are going to beat out resolutions all. day. long.
Habits aren’t a “one-and-done” type of deal that resolutions can tend to be. Just the opposite. In order for them to be successful, habits must be followed through every day. That’s how they become a habit. That whole “21 days to build a habit” thing is actually a myth. It started out based in science but kind of went a bit haywire as the story got told again and again.
In reality, it can take people an average of 66 days to actually form a habit. That’s over 2 months. Aaaaaand here’s the kicker...it can take over 250 days until it becomes automatic, where you don’t have to think about it. That’s where the resolutions always fall short. It can feel like a failure when you reach for your first piece of cake on the 17th of January and, if you let it, can make you quit all together. If you look at it as a resolution, then that first mistake marks the end. If you look at it as a habit, you allow yourself grace, learn from your choice, and move forward.
If you’re ready to make real, LASTING change, write it down. There is so much power in writing down your goals, inspirations and habits. There is significant impact in achieving what you want once it's written vs. just thinking about it. As Jim Rohn says, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” GO get it!