Every time January 1st comes around, millions of people set New Year’s Resolutions. However, by the time February begins, ½ of them have abandoned every single one. By March, the number is 80%. If 80% of people cannot stick with it for two months, something must be wrong with the whole process.
Why People Fail to Stick to Their New Year’s Resolutions
It starts with the resolutions themselves. For instance, a common resolution is “losing weight.” It is half-baked. Why?
(1) The resolution is too vague.
(2) It is an end-result, and NOT steps on how to get there.
(3) After you have figured out steps on how to get there, you still have to stick to them.
People fail at their New Year’s resolutions for the following reason: enthusiasm is common, but planning and commitment are rare.
How Do I Achieve Those Pesky Resolutions?
As noted above, your resolutions cannot be accomplished without thinking about…
(1) How to get there
(2) How to follow-through
Let us suppose you have a goal of “losing 20 pounds by March.”
– To get there, you want to exercise or (and) diet.
– To follow-through, you need to build good habits and routines.
For instance, I do yoga every day and weight train on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. In terms of diet, I intermittent fast until dinner and avoid sugary foods (candy) and carbs (bread).
For most people, they diet and exercise for a week. But the weight returns when you regress back to your normal eating and exercise habits. Forming the right routines and habits will make your resolutions last a lifetime.
How Do I Develop Good Routines and Habits?
(1) Buy a disposable calendar.
(2) Every day you follow through with your habit; put a giant “X” on the date.
(3) Do this for 21 days, and by the 22nd date you won’t need the calendar anymore.
If your goal is to “lose 20 pounds by March,” and one of your steps to getting there is “avoiding sugary foods,” do the following: for every day you avoid soda and candy, put an X on the date. After you do it for 21 days, you will feel “off” when DO have a piece of candy.
I use a habit tracking calendar like this one from Amazon.
Why Are Habits and Routines So Effective?
Humans are habitual creatures. Our daily routine is the center of our habitual character. Without it, you will find impulsivity and confusion. Brushing your teeth is a routine, the same as bathing, eating, and sleeping.
Think about the time that you forgot to brush your teeth before sleeping. It felt a little weird, right? Since I’ve started my daily yoga routine, I feel “off” on days that I don’t go to yoga.
Life is a Compounded Result of Our Daily Actions
If you want to become a writer, daily writing should be part of your routine. If your goal is to be a painter, painting should be part of your daily routine. If your goal is to be fit, you need to include exercise in your routine.
When your goals are clear and precise, your routine gets you closer to the goal every single day.
Goals = (Choices + Action + Habit) * Compounded Time
So, if you want to make 2020 the year you finally organize your finances, get in shape, or learn a new language, you may want to forget New Year’s Resolutions. Turn your attention to daily habits instead.