How many new habits and goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
Chances are a few. There is something magical about New Year resolutions. Sometimes they are just like the bright stars in the sky. Some of them stick with us and shine bright for the whole world to see. Others, well, just like the falling starts can be gone before the end of January.
We promised to start eating healthier, do more sports, spend more time in nature, read more books etc. But how many of these are actually sticking with us? Or better to ask the question: how many have we even started?
The thing with habits is that we usually have them on the autopilot. A lot of times we are not even conscious about them. These are pre-automated behaviors that shaping and forming our life. For example, getting up at 7.00 AM every day is a habit. The same would be if you go to bed at 1.00 AM every day. That is also a habit. Some habits are more complex than others. Some are programmed into our minds since we were kids and we carry on sticking to them throughout our lives and potentially passing on to other generations. For example, in some cultures, people tend to walk with their shoes on inside the house and they don’t see an issue going into someone’s else house wearing them. However, in another culture, this would be a sign of rudeness.
Awareness is something that can help us to have a good look at our habits and how we live our lives. Sitting down and writing everything that you do throughout the day will help you to understand what patterns you are following.
Are you consistent with your skin regime? Can you improve it?
Will you be wearing the same clothes every day or will you find something that makes you more comfortable to do activities you have planned for the day?
Is that smoking habit still very much necessary to have?
When I was younger I would hate to wake up early because I would have stayed up late at night. My morning routine would not be existing and I would usually always be late for school. This was a habit that I would not be able to change for a very long time. Until the school has ended I need to go living on my own. In my study years, I had a job starting at 4.30 AM around three to four times per week. My parents did not believe that I was even working. But I did, I broke the old habit and started a new one. Yes, it was tough at first but as more and more times I needed to do that, it became normal. I don’t need to wake up right now that early but I learnt the advantages of having a good night rest and also enjoying the morning routine.
Why we fail at sticking to habits?
Starting a new habit or trying to get rid of the old one takes will power and in some cases a lot of it. At University College London a study was conducted on 96 people asking to pick up a habit and stick to it for 3 months. The research concluded that to form a habit takes a little bit more than 2 months, 66 days to be precise and as much as 254 days until it is fully formed.
In order to make a new successful habit, you should always know your WHY.
Why this new habit is important? What it will change?
How it will change your life once it becomes an automatic one?
Usually implementing new habits would help us to achieve our goals. So you also need to know what is the end goal?
For example, you want to gain muscle mass. This is important to you because it will allow you to feel and look better. What is it that you need to do in order to achieve that goal?
Probably create a routine that allows you to gain muscle. You start lifting dumbbells. Starting with small ones and then adding as the time goes by.
I did that but I am still failing
I know, it all sounds effortless but you probably have tried and failed it. Well, the question is have you done it consistently? Besides, knowing your why, actual execution and consistency is the key. Take small steps but consistently. Meaning, if you want to lift and gain muscle you will need to do that every other day. Until you will repeat it 66 times. So, if you decide to lift every second day, this whole process might take you around 5 months until you for sure have this habit implemented in your routine.
How about breaking habits?
Some would say that creating a new habit is more complex than breaking one. I guess on one hand these two are almost the same because sometimes when we are creating a new habit, we are breaking an old one.
If you decided to reduce fast food intake to let say one time per month instead of twice per week. This way you are breaking an old habit but also creating a new one.
I have personally broken a lot of old habits such as wasting money, smoking, reducing pork intake, eating cheese only when drinking wine etc. These were the habits that I used to be constantly breaking and probably replacing with new ones.
For this year I am implementing new habits as well. Such as going to bed on time, having a consistent exercise routine for 3 to 4 times per week. It is probably part of my personality that enjoys creating new habits for myself and constantly push my own buttons. I probably influenced my boyfriend as well. He decided to follow my steps by breaking one of his old habits himself this year.
He stopped smoking! It is almost his first month without smoking and I am very proud of him. He says that he feels fine and he expected the withdrawals would be harder, but it wasn't.
There is definitely something more magical about the beginning of the New Year and having this new hope to make little steps to that can change your life. But actually, any given day can be the beginning to start something new. Don’t wait for the next Monday or the beginning of the new month to change your life in the way you want it. Know your why, make small steps, believe in yourself and start now.
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