Are you one of those people who writes New Years Resolutions and dreams of making them all come to pass?
But I got older. Hopefully I’m a little wiser, too.
What I’ve learned is that New Year’s Resolutions rarely work for me.
Why is that?
Basically it has to do with the letter “S.”
Yes, you read that right.
Often we fail to follow through on our New Year’s ResolutionS because, in our exuberance, we draw up such a lengthy list of goalS (plural) that not even the Energizer Bunny high on 5-hour Energy shots could hope to achieve all of them.
The best way to form a new habit or follow through on a New Year’s resolution is to focus on one at a time.
Forget making lists that rival the final four Harry Potter tomes in length. Pick one new habit you want to acquire or one resolution you want to embrace, and give it your all.
Going singular increases your chances of success. Your efforts and energy are focused.
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis a month ago and given three treatment choices: hormone replacement therapy, Rx medications like the one Sally Fields advertises, or a supplements-exercise combo.
Even though I used to dread the Activity That Will Not Be Named–aka the e-word–I chose to go with the third option. I left the doctor’s office, drove directly to Curves, and signed up. Three days a week I go there for circuit training. The other four days I walk for at least thirty minutes.
I’ve not missed a day since I embarked on my exercise regimen.
As I trekked up hill and down on a recent walk, I got to wondering why I’d succeeded in establishing my new routine this time when “get exercise daily” had been one of my New Year’s resolutions for many years running.
I came to the conclusion that I’d been scattered before, attempting to form many new habits at one time, whereas this time all my efforts and energy are focused on a single goal. And that has made a remarkable difference. Other factors have increased my chances for success, but the primary factor is my single-mindedness.
Based upon what I’ve learned, I came up with a better way to approach resolutions. I’m going to write a list of habits I’d like to acquire and focus on them sequentially rather than simultaneously. If I were to resolve to form three new habits, I’d shift to a new one every four months. If I felt ambitious, I could double the number to six and transfer my efforts to a different habit every two months.
I’m excited about my new exercise regimen (although not quite as exuberant as the young woman pictured), but I’m even more excited about discovering a way of establishing a new habit that really works.
• • •
How do you go about establishing a new habit?
Do you have any “habit-forming” success stories?
Are you a New Year’s Resolutions maker or breaker?