Resolutions are Good but Focus on Habits
Most people create new year’s resolutions to improve themselves, set things right and take complete control of their lives. Making these is a form of reset to clear the slate. Save more, losing weight and quitting smoking are some examples. But according to a study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, less than half of people with resolutions were successful. The rest couldn’t make their promises happen.
There are reasons, but maybe these can be narrowed down to a few.
- Old Habits
Habits are defined as repeated practices and behaviors that do not need thought. These are learned and challenging to give up. According to experts, actions repeated for more than two months become habits. Making coffee and taking a shower after waking up are examples.
Now imagine a person who wants to save more but sticks to the routine of buying coffee every day at Starbucks before going to work. Old habits are hard to break.
- Lack of Awareness
People often fail to recognize habits associated with other actions, like eating potato chips while watching a movie or a sports event at home. They can forget about losing weight if this is part of their new year’s resolution list.
Only with careful thought will people realize that many ingrained practices are stopping them from realizing their resolutions.
- Lack of Commitment
If losing weight is one of your resolutions, can you abstain from eating your favorite pastry? Commitment means making sacrifices and avoiding old habits.
Most people revert to their old routines because they aren’t fully committed to their resolutions. Worse, they’ve become comfortable with their present habits, which makes them more hesitant to change.
» Adopt New Habits
It’s okay to write resolutions but follow through with a list of new habits. For example: saving more by looking for an alternative to Starbucks. If a cup of Starbucks coffee is $3.00 versus $1.00 from a grocery, that’s a difference of $2.00. In 20 days, one could save at least $40.00.
Taking a different route to work to avoid Starbucks can be a new habit too. Yes, it’s a simple illustration, but applying the same principle with other resolutions can result in big changes.
Even with greater challenges, begin with a small act and expand on it. Try something new with your resolutions in mind. Constantly thinking of ways to achieve these will soon become a habit.
Source: adapted from Tal Ben Shahar
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