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  • Writer's pictureNick Howell

New Year – New Habits

Updated: Apr 7, 2023



Happy New Year!


If you’re like most people, chances are you have a list of resolutions for the start of 2023. We have to admit that despite our best efforts, our resolutions sometimes don’t stick. Our best intentions lasting a few weeks before we slip into our old ways. Why is that so often the case?


For that answer, we can look at our habits and how they are formed. Whether it's to stay more organised or save more money, making good habits is key to achieving our goals.


So, for this year, we want to be sure to focus on forming new healthy habits and making them stick! With that in mind, let’s offer up some practical advice for creating lasting change throughout the New Year and beyond.


1. The Why

Be clear on why you want the change. You might have a general view that you want to stay off social media because it feels like the right thing to do. But what is truly driving you?


Successful habits are grounded in knowing truly why you want this change. Spend some time writing down in as much detail as possible the reasons you have and the benefits you and possibly others could gain from this change.


Keep these reasons alive and at hand. Chances are that confirming your greater meaning will deliver greater sustainable success.


2. Be Specific

We might say to ourselves ‘I want to get healthier’, but without specificity, we can easily fail to reach our target as we lack a definable outcome that we can plan against (let alone knowing truly when we have got there).


Instead, write down as much detail about your goal to form a specific, measurable and timebound target.


3. Break Down That Goal

Your brain likes to feed on rewards with the unconscious acknowledgement that what you are doing is reaping some form of benefit. It’s a common trap for us to have this magnificent goal in our minds that can become overwhelming and difficult to achieve if you don’t start seeing immediate results.


Break that bigger goal up into a journey with more achievable steps. That half marathon becomes a ten, twenty, then thirty-minute run. At each milestone, celebrate your journey with something you enjoy and make it fun!


4. The Two-Minute Rule

Research has stated that starting an activity associated with a new habit is one of the hardest parts. So, try breaking down the start of your activity into an action that takes just two minutes.


The idea here is that this initial action will slide you into the next step and then the next. Change ‘going for a 15-minute run’ to ‘changing into my running clothes’. Change ‘I’m going to learn one song on my guitar’ to ‘I’m going to pick up my guitar and tune it’.


5. Accountability Partner

It helps tremendously to share what your goals are with someone else. It makes it feel more real when you talk about it and chances are that you will want to provide your accountability partner with good news.


In turn, they can provide you with support and encouragement. If possible, choose someone who can be non-judgemental and supportive.


6. Make Good Choices Easier and Bad Ones Harder

It’s difficult at the best of times to make new habits stick. So, make the journey easier where you can.


Place your guitar where it’s visible, remove those beers from the fridge, put your mobile phone out of sight in another room, and replace those snacks in the drawer with healthier ones.


7. Be Patient

It takes time to form new habits, remember this when you don’t see early results. Repetition is the key to making habits stick rather than the length of time.


For example, five minutes of guitar practice each day forms more new neural pathways than thirty minutes of practice once a week.


8. Make It Tangible

Find the medium that works for you. If you are a visual person, you can try creating a visual board of pictures and statements linked to your habit and place it somewhere prominent or you can use a calendar or a journal to record your progress.


If technology is your thing, there are a host of habit-tracking apps you can utilise such as Streaks, Way of Life and Habitify. Why not gamify your habits with Habitica. The trick is to find a medium that works for you.


9. Your Clan

Surround yourself with people who share the same outlook and belief as how you want to show up in life.


It’s harder to change a habit if everyone around you is doing the opposite. You are what your environment makes you.


10. Don't Give Up If You Slip Up

Many of us slip up at the first time we miss a habit. Acknowledge the miss, but don’t take it as a total failure


Recover your positive thoughts and keep moving forward knowing that the road ahead is not always in a straight line.


Do try these tips and see which ones work for you in combination. I hope they go some way in helping you achieve your new year's resolutions for this new year and beyond!


All The Best

Nick

Nick is a Life, Personal Development, Career & Leadership Coach based in Norfolk, England. Through his work with individuals and businesses, he helps unlock potential. Helping his clients achieve success and happiness in their personal lives and careers - www.nickhowellcoaching.com

https://www.nickhowellcoaching.com/


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