New Habit Mindset

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New Year's Resolutions

Are you on track with your New Year’s resolutions?

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Remember those New Year’s resolutions you set back in January 2016?  

Remember how important they were to you and how determined you were to achieve them?

It is time to take an honest look at where you are now in completing those goals.  

According to John Norcross and Dominic Vangarelli close to 60% of people will drop their resolutions by 6 months reverting back to old behaviors and habits.  Peter Herman concluded that many people don’t achieve their goals because of “false hope syndrome.” This means that there is a fundamental difference between the goal and your personal belief that you are capable of reaching it.

With four months left to the end of 2016, now is the time to revisit your New Year’s resolution and acknowledge where you are in the process of bringing this goal to fruition.  

If you have achieved the results you intended – congratulations! However, if you are like most of us who have laggard and fallen short, here are some suggestions to rekindle the fuel to keep you on track for the remainder of the year.

5 New Habit Nuggets:

1. Revisit your resolution. Is it still in alignment with your values and purpose?

Maintaining motivation through everyday tasks to achieve a goal can be challenging and often mundane. Having a clear goal that ties to your values and purpose will help give you that extra kick of juice to keep you going.

If you can change “I have to” to “I want to” this will cause a profound psychological shift. Self-determination theory underscores the importance having autonomy in our lives which can provide greater intrinsic motivation and satisfaction.

By turning a chore into a “want to” or a choice, you are giving yourself the power to chose to do something and the feeling of autonomy.

If you are stuck on a task, ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What does this task or activity support?
  • If I didn’t do it, then what? And then what? And then what?
  • Why is this important to me?

If your goal no longer has meaning or purpose, scratch it or redefine it so it works for you.  Make the next three-and-a-half months really count.  This is your life. What do you really, really want to accomplish over the next 3 months?

2. Review your timeline.  Have you identified goals that are achievable and realistic?

Back in January 2016 there was a 12-month horizon line which provided ample time to proclaim a high-reaching goal, also known as a big hairy audacious goal ( BHAG ). The godfathers of goal setting theory, Edwin Locke and Gary Latham, point out after hundreds of studies, that more difficult measurable goals lead to better performance and outshine the vague alternative of “do your best.”   

However, with four months left in year, it is important to evaluate what is realistic and doable, especially if you have completely abandoned your New Year’s resolution. Establishing achievable tasks within a realistic time frame is critical to building confidence and self-esteem.

Review your current goals and subtasks and schedule them accordingly in your calendar.  A research study of 403 people found that those who managed their free time well, lead to a better quality of life.  

Start with your end-goal and schedule out the tasks and activities to achieve your goal over the next 3 months.

3. Write out your goals.

A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews,  a professor at Dominican University, found that 70% of the group that wrote down their goals and presented weekly updates to a friend had successful goal achievement compared to 35% of the group that kept their goals to themselves and didn’t write them down.

Take some time now to write down and define what it is you want to achieve, and better yet, have a friend nearby that you can update to keep and hold you accountable.

4. Establish and commit to a system that supports your goal attainment.

Goals can be daunting and very future focused, distracting you from the present moment. Instead of focusing on your end goal, shift your attention to building a system and habits around the tasks needed to achieve you goal.

  • What routines can you establish?
  • What systems can you put in place to support your goals?
  • What boundaries can you establish to protect your goals?

Make the tasks associated with your goal a top priority on your to-do list and complete them when you have the most stamina, determination and focus.  

A research study examined 1,112 judicial rulings to determine if parole judges made their decisions by facts and laws and not other external factors. The findings indicated that judges ruled more favorably right after meals, such breakfast and lunch, and then reverted to the status quo.  This suggests that our environment, surroundings, and food can impact our ability to function optimally.

Again, establish a system where you get into the habit of doing the most important tasks associated with your goal first.

5. Manage your thoughts with positive psychology.

It is normal for insecurity and self-doubt to seep into your mind as you journey toward success.  Rather than focusing on things that are not working, shine a light on what is going well and magnify it.  At the end of each day, write down:

  1. Three things that went well for you and why they went well
  2. One thing you are looking forward to tomorrow
  3. Something that you are grateful for in your life

Practicing these 3 simple activities and over time you will improve your well-being, strengthen your optimism, and build your self-esteem so that you can live a healthy, happy and productive life.

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