For most people January 1 means kicking off the New Year with a fresh start or a clean slate. This is the time that people (including myself) seize the chance to set a new goal and create a resolution for themselves. Whether it be a healthier diet, working out more, practicing mindfulness (more about that in my next blog) or having a better work-life balance, typically by mid-January (week 3) 50% of New Year’s resolution fail.
While the original goal and thought behind setting a resolution is in good faith, how can we ensure we keep our resolutions and follow them through?
Researchers who have studied resolutions found that the first two weeks usually go as planned but then we get that “oopsy” moment because we believe we have been doing so well. We know that having that one (or maybe even a box) of Oreos on our “cheat day” may open the door to falling off the resolution wagon but we all seem to have that momentary lapse of judgment. Making a promise for a positive outcome misaligns with peoples’ perception of actually achieving that goal, and they expect results after only a couple of weeks of sacrifice.
According to the experts, it takes about 21 – 28 days to form a habit pattern of moderate complexity such as learning a new skill or getting up earlier. Changing behaviors won’t lead to success unless you change the very wiring of how you think and believe in your vision of success.
To help you stay on track, I wanted to share the 4 steps that resonated with me most when trying to figure out how to developing a new habit:
- Clarity – Once you make the decision to change your behavior be sure you don’t make excuses or rationalizations.
- Gossip – Tell anyone who will listen that you are starting to practice a particular behavior. This will hold you accountable – especially when you know others are watching!
- Visualize – Imagine yourself as if you are already had the new habit. The more you see yourself in this behavior it will be accepted in your sub consciousness.
- Reward – Remember to reward yourself to help reinforce the behavior. You will begin to associate even at an unconscious level the pleasure off the reward with the new behavior.
Honestly, the biggest secret is you don’t need to start on the first of January, learning a new skill or keeping up with a new habit can happen anytime and is just as satisfying – especially when you reach that significant goal. The feeling of accomplishment and knowing you have the necessary skill to perform a specific task or fulfill a requirement is even better!
Meridian’s LMS helps your organization by providing employees with learning activities that can truly improve their ability to expand their knowledge and have a broader impact to their daily job. So, I will resolve to try to have less “cheat days,” be more mindful and understand that even if the scale doesn’t move as quickly as I would like, the trick is to stay persistent all year long and break barriers into the years to come.
And, I can’t eat just one Oreo! 😉