No Years Resolutions



At the start of every year half of American adults create "New Years Resolutions." They make grand decisions to change for the better. Things like getting healthier or making more money. Research has shown that 80% of those people give up on their resolution in the first month.


I don't believe that the changes we want to make are bad, in fact quite the opposite - they are usually very good changes we are trying to make. Its that we are resolving to make a huge change to our lives for a whole year. That sounds awfully overwhelming to me!


I propose that you make no years resolutions this year! Instead make 12 monthly habits.

Think about where you are right now in your life. Are you healthy? Did you get a promotion at work this year? Are you stuck in the same boring job as last year? Do you have perfect teeth? Do you need to get dentures next year? Whatever it is, you are where you are right now because of what you did every day last year not for a couple of weeks last January.


Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”


If you are healthy it is because you exercise every day. If you have good teeth it is because you floss every day. If you got a promotion it is because you give 110% effort to every single project assigned to you. Whatever you became last year was because of your habits. The same will be true this year too.


Research has shown that at least 40% of our daily actions are based on habits and routines, not newly formed decisions. Think about that, 40% of what we do everyday we do without really thinking. Habits don't care if they are good for you or bad. Its totally up to you. You choose your habits. So that means if you choose the right habits you can make real change in your life without really thinking about it. Doesn't that sound easier than making a big, hard, resolution to change?


So instead of setting one big new years resolution you probably won't stick to, why not work on a new habit each month instead? Set a reminder in your calendar for the first day of every month to set a new habit. It may take longer than one month to form your habit however, after a month you should have a reasonable idea of whether or not its a habit you want to sustain. The average time to form a habit is actually 66 days.


How can you create a new habit?


Use the "Sticky" method to create new habits with just a sticky note and a pen.

1. PICK YOUR NEW HABIT
Pick one new habit to create.
Good habits are:
* small
* simple
* sustainable
Write your habit on 3 sticky notes.
Place one sticky note by your bed, one at your desk and one in your purse or wallet.

2. PICK A TRIGGER
Pick a trigger for your habit:
* a
n existing habit
* a specific time of day
* an alarm or calendar reminder

3. RECORD YOUR PROGRESS
Draw a 5 x 7 grid on a sticky note to record your daily progress for a month.

4. “STICKY TO YOUR HABIT” DAILY
Read your habit on a sticky note each morning and throughout the day.
Do the new habit at the trigger every day. 
Record every day you do your habit on the sticky note with a grid.
Commit to never missing more than one day in a row.
Sticky to your habit for one month.

(Click image to enlarge.)



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