Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Will you keep it?
According to a recent Forbes magazine, less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.
Common New Year’s resolutions are to eat, drink, smoke, and weigh less, and make more money. Sound familiar? These common resolutions are really changing habits.
A habit is a routine behavior done on a regular basis. They are recurrent and often unconscious patterns of behavior acquired through frequent repetition.
I’ve been reading a book called Atomic Habits, and its author, James Clear, explains some specific ways to create a new good habit. He talked about this at the recent Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston that I also spoke at. Here are 4 ways to create a new habit:
- Make it obvious.
- Tell yourself, “I will do [certain behavior] at a [certain time] in a [certain location].”
- Stack your habits. “After my current habit, I will do my new habit.”
- Design your environment to encourage good habits. Want to apply sunscreen every day? Put the sunscreen container near the door.
- Make it attractive.
- Pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do. For example, my wife pairs going to the gym (something she wants to do) with going to the grocery store next door (something she doesn’t want to do).
- Make it Easy.
- Start with repetition, not perfection. With enough repetition, a new behavior becomes easy.
- When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes. Want to read more? Start by reading one page a day. Running three miles begins as “Tie my running shoes.”
- Make it Satisfying.
- Do things that offer some element of reward. “What is rewarded is repeated.” For instance, to brush your teeth more regularly, choose a toothpaste that tastes good to you.
- Align your reward with your identity. Want more free time, take a bubble bath.
The best way to stay committed to your New Year’s resolution is not to make one. So, this year, resolve to start a new habit. Atomic habits can cause colossal change.
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