Happy New Year! As we venture into 2022, we all want to see change, and for most, this presents itself as a new year's resolution. Resolutions help us to improve ourselves, whether it's mentally, physically, spiritually. Unfortunately, resolutions are seemingly simple goals that can become daunting tasks that ultimately get thrown out the window.
At first glance, a resolution is something you want to achieve for yourself, whether that's keeping your desk tidy or increasing your daily step count. Suppose, over the past year, you haven'y executed that goal or mindset before, chances are, it's going to be challenging to change up your routine. Read on to learn 4 simple ways to make happy, healthy and attainable new year's resolutions by breaking them down into smaller sustainable habits. Keep in mind - habit formation is not a linear process. There will be many ups and downs but perseverance and healthy, mindful choices can help to make the ride a whole lot smoother.
As with all new things, fresh habits can be easy to forget. Much like studying, it can be difficult to retain new knowledge, but start to study and just like that! It's almost as if you've always known the information. Resolutions have to become habits in order to maintain them and this is where reminders can come in handy.
Visual - If you see it, you're more likely to believe it! Post a sticky note to your mirror where you brush your teeth every morning, to your coffee pot, your fridge, anywhere! These reminders can act as a soft nudge and help increase your chances of taking action. If you're a heavy tech user, try changing your phone or desktop background. This type of reminder can stay put until you decide to change it, and unlike a sticky note, there's less of a chance of misplacing it or throwing it in the trash on on the days you might not be feeling your best.
Technical - Alarms and silent digital reminders can also be your new best friend when creating a new habit. Silent reminder that won't disrupt a meeting but still catch your attention and act as friendly, discreet reminders that put you in control of when to follow through. Once you've completed the habit for the day, dismiss the notification and set it back again for tomorrow!
Social - Scream it from the rooftops! Tell your friends, tell your coworkers! The bigger your support network and the more people you have to keep you accountable, the greater your chances of success. This tactic not only actively engages your friends and family but may allow for collaboration. Let's say your job doesn't provide an opportunity for a lot of physical activity or movement. Your new goal is to take more steps during the day, therefore, the habit you want to create is going for daily walks. What can you do to increase the likelihood of this happening while also supporting someone who might be looking to fulfil a similar goal? Call a coworker! Chat on the phone together while you both go on a quick 10-minute walk around the block. You've now brought someone along on the journey and can keep each other accountable while of course, celebrating your progress with.
The bigger the goal, the taller the mountain. By breaking up your goal into smaller, more manageable steps, you'll significantly improve your odds of success. Suppose your new goal is to maintain a tidy desk, but your desk is an unorganized mess. In that case, it (unfortunately) won't magically stay clean for months on end. Things happen! New documents and folders come into play daily. Try buying some file folders or a small desk organizer for those little knick-knacks that end up piling up. Place some sanitizing wipes on your desk as a visual reminder to wipe your surface down at the end of your day. Before you know it, your desk organization will lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workspace.
If your'e looking to achieve a much longer-term goal, try writing out some steps to help break it down. This can make it much less daunting and get you more excited about making a change. To make it even easier, try stacking your behaviours! Adding, or stacking a new habit into an already learned behaviour or task increases your chances of being able to maintain it and causes less disruption to your existing routine.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
The number one thing to remember when it comes to habits, is that they're not going to just automatically stick. Effective practice and conscious effort must be put forth in order to create positive change. Looking back on our previous inactive work-life example, try and weave your daily walk into your existing routine so that it's easy to do daily. If you already take a lunch-break mid-day, try to make time for a quick walk during that time. Don't just incorporate into your weekdays, try and fit it into your weekend as well. This will help you to keep a consistent practice and ultimately make the task feel less cumbersome. Harvard Business Review states that a "[...] habit is a behaviour done with little or not thought." While we practice many unconscious, learned behaviours daily, when creating new habits, we need to make the conscious decision to practice them regularly. Keep in mind that flexibility is also key. Obstacles are inevitable, so when you do eventually come up against a barrier, using if-then statements can be a game-changer. For example, say you've consistently been incorporating a daily walk into your lunch break but then someone schedules a meeting, and now you find yourself saying, "I can't go on my walk over my lunch break because I have a meeting." Instead of stopping there, shift your perspective and try, "If I can't go on my walk during lunch, then I will go on my walk after work and enjoy the sunset." This simple but powerful adjustment identifies the barrier and instead implements a simple and easy solution.
4. Reward Yourself - You're Doing Great!
While if-then statements can help you navigate tangible obstacles and outside interruptions, rewards can help to tackle any mental roadblocks such as self-doubt. Start by recording your progress from day one. Writing down small wins might seem tedious, but looking back on your progress will show you how much you've grown and keep you motivated even when you feel defeated.
Overcoming hurdles deserves a reward. Each small win or bigger achievement should be celebrated! For example, if you successfully completed a 10-minute lunch walk from Monday through Friday, reward yourself with a fancy coffee or a fresh pastry while on your Friday walk. With a longer-term goal, like completing a certain number of steps over the duration of a month, reward yourself that makes you feel rested, refreshed and brings you joy. Forming a new habit, especially a healthy one, can be difficult. Rewards can make this new journey much more enjoyable!
What are your new year's resolutions? What habits can you create to help you in reaching your goal? Visit us on social and let us know!