Form a new habit instead of new years resolutions

Have you set new years resolutions to change a habit and then did not follow it through? I did, not only once. But then something changed and I had no need for them anymore. No, I didn’t call it quits for improving myself. I found a better method instead. Read on how I got over the habit of quitting.

Why we all fail with new years resolutions

Think back to the last time you started into a new year thinking “I want to be healthier!” or “I want to start working out!” Did you ever accomplish these goals you set out to achieve? Or did you sometimes start and then, after a few weeks slowly realize that you stopped doing those things? I can’t tell how often I was in this situation. Always motivated to live the healthiest life possible, never procrastinate and be the most anything. I never formed these habits I set out to do.
The reason for this is quite simple: mankind is a creature of habit and we all set out to form those big habits instead of taking it slow and steady.

How to form a new habit easily

Set SMART goals

A SMART goal is easy to set, just

  • Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
  • Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress towards the accomplishment of the goal
  • Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve (very important!!)
  • Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose
  • Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

So, instead of saying “I want to start working out.” use this:

I will work out at the gym every other day for at least an hour until the end of the year.

Write that in your planner

Hold yourself accountable

One of the main reasons we break with our new year’s resolutions instead of forming a new habit is that we don’t hold ourselves accountable. There are many ways to do this. My partner, for example, marks the days he works out with a barbell sticker in his monthly calendar. Some people create an Instagram account, others seek a partner to do the new activity with.

Barbell stickers to mark new workout habits
Habit tracker insert
Use a habit tracker

I mark my daily steps to form my new habits in a monthly habit tracker. (Tip: this one is a printable available in my shop.)

Give yourself a reward

Each time you set out to do the activity, give yourself a small reward. Use something you like to do but which is not contra-productive to your new habit. Well, if you want to eat healthier, I wouldn’t recommend you reward yourself with chocolates! Try watching your favorite series on TV instead, or reading a chapter in your favorite book.

Forming a habit takes time

Studies have shown – my own self-experiment included – that it takes about 30 days to form a new habit. The key to success is to not skip any single instance of your new habit.

One habit at a time

In conclusion to all the previous points, I can only add to this post that you should focus on forming only one habit at a time.

Let me know in the comments how you set out to form a new habit!

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Form a new habit instead of new years resolutions
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