Create New Habits Not Resolutions

Create New Habits Not Resolutions

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We are at that in-between point of the holidays between Christmas and New Year’s. The holiday season is still upon us and we still have celebrations to attend to and may not yet be ready to consider the new year that is just around the corner, but we should take some time between now and the new year to look back at what we have accomplished and what was left undone or unfulfilled.

This is a good time of year to sit and reflect on goals that we achieved and goals that we failed on. And when you reflect on these moments ask yourself what the difference was between a goal achieved and a failed goal.

My guess is that the reason most of us fail to achieve our goals is related to habits.

When we achieve something that we want it is because we created good habits that helped us achieve our goal. When we fail it is because we didn’t consistently apply the actions necessary for the achieving of the goal through making those actions habit.

Creating a habit takes time. Depending on what we are trying to change in our lives it may take months to create a positive habit.

Looking back on my life I can think of lots of habits that were hard to form – quitting smoking, regular exercise, eating properly.

A bad habit once formed is hard to break – a good habit once formed is hard to live without.

It is alright to make a resolution, but it means nothing unless you have put a plan together to form the habits that will lead to the accomplishing of the resolution. A resolution is without teeth if it does not come with a clear set of habits to lead to the end goal.

Take quitting smoking for instance. In order to quit you first need to break old habits. For me it was having a cigarette while driving, while having a drink, or after a meal. I had to form new habits that would replace the old habit of smoking in relation to these activities. I didn’t do it all at once but transformed these activities gradually over time until I untied them from smoking.

My plan included doing other things instead of smoking such as chewing gum, exercising, and avoiding alcohol. It also required me to think differently. I had to form the habits that affirmed my belief that I was able to quit and that life without cigarettes was better than life with them. I had to look outside myself for reasons not to smoke. For me it was the thought of being alive to see my unborn child grow up and not endangering her health with my smoking.

Once I disengaged the old habits from smoking I began to form new habits, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol in certain circumstances, and engaging in new thought patterns of rewarding myself when I avoided smoking.

I didn’t feel like I was completely free of cigarettes for at least a year. And even then I would get the occasional urge. If I would have allowed myself to slip back into old habits I would have started smoking again, but I continued with my new habits and have been smoke free for 12 years.

This New Year’s don’t make resolutions, instead make up your mind to make new habits. Decide on what your goal is and then write down what habits you need to break, and what habits you need to create in order to achieve that goal.

Set yourself up to change how you live, think, and feel through creating new positive habits that will lead you to your goal. Making a resolution will get you to a goal only through pursuing a clear course of action that creates new habits and breaks old ones.

Good luck creating new positive habits and achieving your goals. Here is to a prosperous and successful New Year.

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