The secret to making resolutions stick this new year
This guest blog post is by Kristen Johnson Brogan, a registered dietitian and professional speaker for her family-owned health and performance company, On Target Living. You can learn more about her by visiting her website.
A new year signifies new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s an opportunity to be a better version of who you were the year before.
It’s also a time for setting goals and resolutions. Although we may have the best intentions when setting these goals, they often fall flat shortly into the new year.
But how can you make this year different from the rest, live your best self and be unstoppable in 2018?
Unfortunately, living out our new year’s resolutions isn’t as simple as following a new fancy diet or reading a life-changing book. However, it can be as simple as building some healthy new habits.
Habits are the key to making sustainable lifestyle changes. They drive our everyday life and create daily rituals that are effortless, comfortable and meaningful – which is why it’s so easy to fall back into old habits.
The reason new year’s resolutions often fail is because we don’t stick with them long enough to form a habit. The definition of a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
A habit is more than a repetitive behavior; it’s a construction of three equational components that make up the habit loop. Those three components are the cue, the behavior and the reward.
The cue is an environmental or internal trigger that provokes a behavior. This could be seeing a piece of chocolate cake on TV or smelling the warm cookies your spouse just pulled out of the oven.
The behavior is the actual routine we think of as a habit. These are the things we do on autopilot without having to use much effort. This could be eating dessert every night after dinner.
The reward is the incentive for making this behavior stick. When it comes to dessert, the reward could be enjoying the company of someone you love while you eat those warm cookies from the oven.
How to build habits
To change a habit, you must find a way to create the same cue and reward by using a different behavior. And whatever behavior you choose, it must be realistic and sustainable. Don’t start juicing every day or doing high intensity exercises if you can’t keep it up. Find things you enjoy and keep you coming back for more.
Here’s an example of how to incorporate some healthy new habits by creating the same reward but using a different behavior.
Example No. 1
Oatmeal fixings in the cupboard
Making your Oatmeal on The Run before bed
Oatmeal On The Run Recipe
Small steps are the key to building habits. Don’t worry about doing everything overnight. Start with just one thing, make it a habit and then introduce another. Get rid of bad habits by replacing them with good habits. Swap one behavior out for a better one and find behaviors that give you meaning.
As you come into 2018, keep this secret success formula in your back pocket:
- Know the magic is in you! You have the power to change your life.
- Why do you want to change? What would this change give you in your personal and professional life? How would this change provide you with meaning?
- Take massive action NOW! It’s not about what you know; it’s about what you do NOW!
- Take small steps to build healthy new habits that last.
- Disrupt bad habits or patterns that interfere with accomplishing your resolution.
Most people fail to achieve their goals in life for one simple reason: They never take the first step.