It’s the new year, and many people are working toward a new goal or a habit they are trying to implement. Often, we get overwhelmed with the number of goals we give ourselves each January. By providing so many options, we tend not to achieve what we set out to do. To alleviate this, you should create a habit instead.
I know the idea of creating a habit can be both exciting and a bit boring. We tend to think that habits mean we can’t ebb and flow with daily life. But I would like to suggest that it is much easier to cultivate a habit that will improve your experience than just “winging it.” You may have been “winging” your new goals every time, but I suspect if you were successful, you created a habit that got you there. Habits do not need to be set in stone; they create flexibility that helps you achieve your goals.
So before we begin, I suggest you pick one specific habit you want to implement in 2020. I would like to encourage you to pick a habit that will help you grow instead of one that comes from a place of perfection. Instead of saying I want to get healthy, or I want to focus on self-care change it to 3 times a week I will move my body, or I will set aside 10 minutes a day to read. When we have a broader goal, we don’t know where to start or what to focus on, and we lose motivation quickly.
Once you have selected your habit, you will want to add this to your calendar. This can be your work calendar, your phone calendar, or a written planner. I suggest using something that will notify you of the new occurrence. For electronic calendars, select the option to repeat and add which days it applies. This will help you by giving you a constant reminder.
Once you have the new goal to your calendar, you must now implement it. As this is a scheduled appointment, you should make your best effort to attend the appointment. As life happens, you may not be able to practice your new habit at your set time on specific days, when that happens reschedule for a better time slot so that you can accommodate your appointment and your life.
A habit is created in 21 days, and you will stick to the habit if you continue for the full 30 days. If your new goal is only done three times per week, the 21 days only apply to the days that you do it meaning you will create the habit on day 34. Once you have created the habit, you can then remove it from your calendar. If it something you are practicing once a week, such as a chore, then you may want to keep it on your calendar as a good reminder.
If you stop practicing the habit, it’s ok, you are human and this is not about being perfect. If you still want to try this habit add it back on to your calendar if you removed it, or if it is still on there and you are no longer practicing it, change your time or days. If the habit you chose is no longer one that works for you pick one that will inspire growth. Once you have succeeded in creating a habit, you can either continue to focus on the one or you can create a new appointment. Because your original goal was most likely broader, I would suggest picking another item that will help you toward your overall purpose.
For 2019 I created multiple new habits through this method, and it contributed to an overall boost in my mood and everyday life. Some habits I created where;
- Reading a book for at least 5 minutes every night
- Journaling with a brain dump and a mindset shift in the morning
- Creating a daily gratitude practice by writing down at least five specific things I am grateful for
- Moving my body 5 days a week by doing yoga or walking
- Setting up designated times for social media
- Making a smoothie the night before so I can have a leisurely morning
- Creating a cleaning routine that works for our family.
Each habit I have created helped me in my overall goal of creating a life I love. This was not just a goal for 2019, but instead an overall goal for my life. By establishing habits, I can be more engaged in aspects of my life that I was once numb to. I have also created practices that benefit my overall health and the people around me. When I am energized by making my habits daily, my energy overflows into each area of my life, resulting in an overall boost.
Starting the new year with a new habit is a great way to boost your overall life. As a reminder, be sure to be specific and calendar in your habit to achieve the goal you set for yourself this year. I’m excited for the year to come and to hear what habits you create for yourself. Be sure to share what habit you are going to start with for 2020.