I did not set a New Year’s resolution for 2017. In fact, I slipped into the first of January as if it were any other day. Last year, however, it was a different story. I was going to write that memoir, exercise and eat healthy, read through the Bible in a year, clean my house on a schedule, etc. etc. These were very lofty goals and I even did some of them. In contemplating my year, I’ve come to understand that the lack of discipline and consistency prevented me from maintaining these new habits.
So, what went wrong? It wasn’t like I didn’t want to do those things. I did and still do. Why was I unable stick with the goals I set for my self?
What is a habit?
My questioning lead me to Webster’s definition of habit:
These definitions made me realize that I have a multitude of habits, good and bad, most formed without my noticing. If this is the case, it must mean they are easy to form, right? So why was it so hard for me to change habits I wanted?
I did some more digging and found there is a scientific process to creating and changing habits. Apparently, I was doing it all wrong. Because I set out to achieve so much at once, I ended up not accomplishing much at all.
First, you must establish the habit.
Second, you must change your self-story.
In everyone’s subconscious, there lies a story we tell ourselves which drives our actions and habits. Oftentimes, this underlying story prevents us from making the long-term behavior changes we want. We may not even realize that we have this internal dialogue about ourselves, so writing it out can be revealing. Here’s what you can do:
Photo by Emma Simpson courtesy of Unsplash
Weinschenk, Ph.D, Susan. The Science of Why New Year’s Resolutions Do Not Work. Web.
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