“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
― Samuel Johnson
New Year Resolutions!Oh those (dirty) words again! By now most of us have had enough of of them. In the spirit of the beginning of the year and when it was safe to just 'make' them, they looked quite easy. But once they're on the way to becoming an uncomfortable reality, it's safer to have them slide out of your life. Why? Why can't we stick to those despite our (former) best intentions?
I've heard it said, it takes 21 days to form a habit. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So all you have to do is keep at a undesirable routine for 21 days and there! It becomes an ingrained part of your life. Or does it?
I believe the first thing to do is ask yourself. Do these resolutions feed into my long term goals? Those of staying healthy. Staying fulfilled. Staying productive. If it does, why am I not giving my best shot at it?
Here are three most common reasons why resolutions fail. All you have to do is avoid them.
1)Inadequate preparation: Are you prepared for it? Mostly, we fail to make place for the resolutions in our life. Space. Time. Preparation. All are needed. If it is dieting, have you stocked your fridge beforehand? Have you handy crunchy carrots to tide over the munching impulses? Have you set aside more food preparation time for healthy snacks and soups?
If, like me, your aim was to get more writing done, have you created space in your day? This might involve something as routine changing as a later bedtime for you (and earlier one for kids if you have them.) Some free minutes around lunch time, tearing yourself away from your gossip hour at work. A "don't disturb me time" few hours at weekend. Shedding tears over missing your favourite sitcom or serial. Also beware of your surfing time. That's where most free time drains. Says one who knows :(
2) Failure to view repercussions : It was ok to have that workout for a week, but now it starts to feel punishing so you stop pushing yourself. This 7th to 14th day window period is hardest to get through. Most resolutions collapse during this. My previous routine was better, you think. This is the time to ask yourself : why did you have this resolution? Review if your productivity has increased after the new routine? Do you feel better for taking the time for exercise? Moreover, remember it's part of the plan feeding into your long-term goal of staying healthy. Instead of a year more, think two more weeks to get through. It will actually become easier because it will become a habit after that. You'll thank yourself and be proud to say, yeah! I did it!
But do remember to ease up if what you've set is actually hard to keep up or if you find you are ignoring other important tasks. You can't take 5 km morning walk and then if your body isn't accustomed to it, be sleepy at work. Slow down and build it up again.
3) Failure to be accountable : Have someone crack the whip and make you do it. Mom, spouse, friend, anyone around to keep a check. Give your expected word count for the week to your writing group and have them nag. Get them to do it and be honest in reporting your progress.
So to sum up, prepare adequately, review and rev up, and lastly have someone to supervise. Sound simple? It is! Just think I HAVE to do this.
Hope you have success!
Do let me know if you found this useful.
I'd also like to know. What kind of resolution are you struggling with this year or did you struggle with last year? How do/did you aim to fix it this time around?
Happy good-habits-forming weeks!