A short step-by-step guide to turn your ambitions into healthy habits!
I’ve been there too. I’ve stood on the 31st of December thinking – this is the year. This is the year when I finally start the new habit I’ve failed to maintain over and over again. Often the resolutions are around health in some shape or form: starting to exercise, eat a certain way, not eat a certain way, lose weight, reduce alcohol or smoking. It doesn’t even have to be New Year’s – any time we decide we want to change, the success rate of people managing to keep their resolutions and new habits is quite low. I probably decided to start meditating regularly at least 10 times before finally succeeding just a few months ago in keeping up long term.
So why do we fail? Three common reasons are:
● The resolutions are goal-oriented, i.e. about achieving a single goal instead of building a long lasting sustainable habit
● The goals are set too high, i.e. “go to the gym 5 times per week”
● There is no clear “why” behind it, i.e. a lack of motivation or buy-in
If you are reading this and have indeed sometime in your life failed a New Year’s resolution, or any other type of intended change, take a moment and consider why you think that happened, and if your reason falls into any of the categories above.
Apart from finally starting to meditate regularly, I have radically shifted my well-being by incorporating a large number of habits that support my health and happiness. Most of these are now as second nature as brushing my teeth, whereas I am not quite there yet with some.
Here are a few points which could help you, inspired by books, research, and, not the least, my own journey:
- Be clear on your “why” – articulate and understand the motivation behind your new habit
- Start small – break down bigger habits into smaller ones and gradually increase
- Stack your habits – add new habits onto existing patterns and behaviors, i.e if you want to start walking more, start parking as far away as you can whenever you go with the car somewhere
- Make it easy – if you want to start flossing your teeth, place the floss on top of your tooth brush!
- Create accountability – let the world know about your goals–or at least a few friends and family members
- Be consistent – habits form easier when we keep them up regularly
- Reward yourself and have fun – celebrate when reaching milestones and don’t be afraid to be proud of your progress
Before you know it, your resolutions will be fully incorporated in your daily life, and you can start building new habits. But beware of environmental changes such as a vacation or holiday which can set you back if you are not mindful. In the end, it’s a process and can be done, but also don’t beat up yourself if you fall off the wagon. Keep trying!
Taíno Bendz is the founder of Phone Free Day and his own consulting business, and his message on mindful and intentional technology usage has reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world. He is a public speaker, workshop facilitator, and conducts research on digital technology usage. Taíno holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management and has spent the last 10 years working in technology sectors such as renewable energy, healthcare IT, and software automation. He currently lives in Sweden with his family. He is the author of Tech-Life Balance.