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Create Habits Instead of Resolutions

The following post is from Bernice Wood of Living the Balanced Life:

daily plan
Source: jazzlah

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions back in January, and many of us don’t even remember what they were, much less have accomplished them.

It is frustrating to set resolutions year after year only to “fail” by the end of January. There has to be a better way — and there is.

Instead of setting several goals that you want to achieve, pick one or two that you want to accomplish. That doesn’t mean you can’t do this again later in the year. The point is, you don’t want to try to change too much at a time, you set yourself up for failure by doing this.

The Habit Process

1. Get out a blank sheet of paper. Electronically could work, but for many of us, the process of working it out on paper is therapeutic.

2. Write your goal at the top. The goal is typically an end result {lose 20 pounds, start my own business, take better care of myself.}

3. Break down your goal into a series of habits or daily actions that will bring you closer to accomplishing it.

4. Make time in your schedule to do those daily actions.

5. Do the actions/habits every day. Write in on your mirror, set up alarms on your phone, email, computer, whatever you have to do. Do them every day.

Some examples of how this looks in action.

Goal =  lose 20 pounds

What habits can you create that will help?

  • Drink water instead of soda
  • Don’t eat after 8 pm
  • Eat 3 veggies a day
  • Start an exercise program by just walking 10 minutes a day

None of these are large actions. Each will take a little thought and effort, but they are not difficult. As one becomes a habit, move onto the next. Each of these actions may not seem like it will get you far, but by starting small and building your habits, they will begin to accumulate. It may even be best to begin with one habit a week to get it ingrained. And you can increase. Increase your water intake, your fruit and veggie intake, and the amount of exercise.

Goal = take better care of myself

What habits can you create to help?

  • Go to bed earlier. If late bedtimes are a big problem for you, begin by moving bedtime up 15-30 minute at a time. The goal? At least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Eat a real breakfast. You will have to plan ahead and be sure to have something in the house to eat. If you need grab-n-go, then plan for it!
  • Take 5 minutes a day to just sit and breathe. This does not have to be meditation, unless that’s what you want, but you need to learn how to shut your mind off for a few minutes a day.
  • Do something active each day. Whether it is walking 10 minutes, dancing like crazy with your 3 year old, or doing some yoga stretches before bed. Work it into your day.

As with the example above, none of these are huge, but each can make a difference. And when compounded, they will help you begin to feel a little more sane, a little more calm, and a little more healthy.

What about you? What goal would like to reach? What habits do you need to build into your life to get there? What will you do today to get started?

Bernice Wood is a mother of 4 young adult kids, plus Nana to 7 grandchildren. After a major lifechange summer 2010, she began blogging to journal her personal struggles and transition. To help others avoid the pitfalls of stress and burnout and learn to live a more healthy life, she recently launched her new blog at Living the Balanced Life.