What would you say if I said you will keep your New Year’s resolution this year?
It’s customary for us to become reflective at the end of the year and feel energised to be better in the year ahead. Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition dating back to Babylonian times, but these days breaking these promises seems almost as expected, but it doesn’t have to be.
Follow my tips to making good habits in 2016 and let me know on Twitter how you’re getting on in the weeks that come.
Make Good Habits Stick
1) Make it SMART
You may be used to setting SMART goals at work, but do you apply the same principles to your personal objectives?
Run through the 5 points to check your resolution is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time sensitive.
What are you going to achieve in 2016? When will you achieve it by? Is is realistic? And when will you know you have reached this goal?
2) Be accountable
Tell someone. It’s as simple as that; but just telling one other person can make you 55% more likely to complete a goal than if you did not tell anyone. Even better, make a date on which you will check in with that friend on your progress. And if you want to be sure that this year is the year you run a 10k then tell everyone! It will make it far harder for you to give up on your goal.
The definition of a habit is a regular activity, so the key here is building it into your routine in a realistic and workable way. That may mean going fo
r a run one morning a week at 7am, but likely doesn’t mean doing it everyday as any ‘binge’ behaviour means you are more likely to feel the strain and discontinue in a few weeks.
Various studies have been conducted on how long it takes to build a habit, and these conclude that it takes between 21 days (3 weeks) and 66 days (8 weeks) to form a new habit. To help your goal last through these initial weeks, can you book some time in each week towards it? If so, add them to your calendar or phone diary to give you a schedule for success.
Creating a new habit requires time, effort and commitment, so do reward yourself if you hit a milestone or continue working towards your goal. Best yet, it’s been proven that you will work harder towards a goal if you reward yourself as you go.