A new year signifies new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s an opportunity to be a better version of who you were the year before.
The new year is a time for setting goals and resolutions. Although we may have the best intentions when setting these goals, they often fall flat shortly into the new year.
According to the Huffington Post, only 8% of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. Business Insider claims that 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by February.
With that being said, how can you make this year different from the rest, live your best self and be unstoppable in 2018?
Unfortunately, living out our new year’s resolutions isn’t as simple as following a new fancy diet or reading a life-changing book. However, it can be as simple as building some healthy new habits.
Did you know that habits are the key to making sustainable lifestyle changes? Habits are what drive our everyday life. Habits create daily rituals that are effortless, comfortable and meaningful. Which is why it’s so easy to fall back into old habits.
According to the Huff Post Healthy Living, it takes on average, more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic and you form a "habit." That’s 66 days to be exact.
The reason new year’s resolutions often fail is because we don’t stick with them long enough to form a habit. The definition of a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
A habit is more than a repetitive behavior, it’s a construction of three equational components that make up the habit loop. Those three components are the cue, the behavior, and the reward.
The cue is an environmental or internal trigger that provokes a behavior. This could be seeing a piece of chocolate cake on TV or smelling the warm cookies your spouse just pulled out of the oven.
The behavior is the actual routine we think of as a habit. These are the things we do on autopilot without having to use much effort. This could be eating dessert every night after dinner.
The reward is the incentive for making this behavior stick. When it comes to dessert, the reward could be enjoying the company of someone you love while you eat those warm cookies from the oven.
Most diets have you giving up things that bring you the biggest rewards and provide the most meaning to your life. The 30-day no sugar cleanse, the no-carb diet, the 5am workout regimen will never work long-term. You can’t just eliminate something without replacing it with something that makes you feel equally good or if not better. Plus, saying no every day, multiple times a day is exhausting.
When it comes to dieting remember that the term “dieters” includes anyone who is trying to reduce, restrict, or otherwise alter their diet for health reasons. This includes paleo, vegan, gluten-free, low calorie, low carb, etc.
Short cuts and restrictions don't work and they will never work which is why there is always a new diet or short cut on the market. Take time to build your lifestyle and it will become effortless, easy, and powerful. Plus, when you take time to enjoy the process, the reward will be so much bigger. Will power and motivation will run out, but it's our lifestyle, habits, and daily rituals that will always pick us back up when life gets tough.
To change a habit, you must find a way to create the same cue and reward by using a different behavior. And whatever behavior you choose, it must be realistic and sustainable. Don’t start juicing every day or doing high intensity exercises if you can’t keep it up. Find things that you enjoy and keep you coming back for more.
Here’s an example of how to incorporate some healthy new habits by creating the same reward but using a different behavior.
Oatmeal fixings in the cupboard
Making your Oatmeal On The Run before bed.
A delicious and hearty breakfast that provides you with energy and a sense of accomplishment in the morning.
Tennis shoes by the front door.
Run/exercise before work.
The feel-good endorphins you get from exercise. It’s the way it makes you feel that truly has you coming back for more. Don’t exercise to lose weight, exercise to feel good!
A food commercial.
Cooking a healthy meal at home together with your partner.
Spending time together and sharing in important conversation.
Small steps are the key to building habits. Don’t worry about doing everything overnight. Start with just one thing, make it a habit and then introduce another. Get rid of bad habits by replacing them with good habits. Swap one behavior out for better one and find behaviors that give you meaning.
Think about brushing your teeth or putting your shoes on. These activities don’t take much effort because overtime, they have become daily rituals that we don’t even think about. A healthy lifestyle is no different.
As you can into 2018, keep this secret success formula in your back pocket for you to pull from anytime you need it.
Most people fail to achieve their goals in life for one simple reason; they never take the first step.
Interested in building some healthy lifestyle habits that last? Try out our FREE 21 Day Challenge at the image below and take that next step!