With National Ditch Your New Year Resolution Day tomorrow, January 17th, it is a great time to explore why it so easy to quit your New Year’s Resolutions.
It is a plan and simple concept. Most people will avoid uncomfortable situations, experiences, and actions in favor of comfort. It really is that simple!
Even though one fully understands the new healthy habit will have a positive effect on their physical, mental, emotional, and social health and well-being, they find hundreds of reasons to stop pursuing it. It can becomes easier to find excuses than to experience the discomfort which comes with developing the new habit. It is our flight mechanism. We are all born with survival instincts and these often kick in when we are attempting to modify daily habits.
Staying with the known, within your comfort zone can be less stressful. Stepping out of your comfort zone can cause stress, anxiety, a sense of failure, a change of routine, and even confusion. Many people have significant anxiety about the possibility of failing.
This is why it is so important to train your mind to look at failure as an opportunity to learn. You can learn in two different ways: 1 – what worked, and 2 – what does not work. Both are very valuable to your personal growth and development. One without the other limits your ability to learn and grow stronger.
Now, let’s be completely honest with ourselves right now. Look back and think about how many healthy habits you were trying to develop and you stopped; pushed away on a back burning for another day, month, or year. What type of excuses did you make for not sticking with the goal of developing the new healthy habit?
At the time, you convinced your mind that it was a great excuse. Now, that you are removed from it by time, do you still believe it was a good excuse? Most likely not!
So, how do you make lasting healthy changes? It start with setting a big audacious goal and breaking it down into smaller micro-steps. Steps which make you become mindful of your goal every day. Stick with the micro-goal for a one to two week period of time before adding a new micro-step. The small micro-step helps you be mindful of your ultimate goal while at the same time gradually and slowly moving you out of your comfort zone.
For example, water is essential to your health. Many of us would greatly benefit from drinking more water every day. Ideally, you should try to drink between half an ounce to one ounce of water per day for each pound of weight. So it you weigh 150 pounds, you should strive for 75 to 150 ounces of water a day.
Let’s say you don’t drink any water at all right now because you prefer juice, coffee, and/or tea. A micro-step would be to substitute one drink every day with a glass of water. You may want to even put a little flavor in it by adding some lime or lemon to the water. Track your progress. What gets measure gets done. After a week or maybe two, set another micro-goal. Maybe this time, you might try to drink a glass a water before your dinner.
Continue with this system and within a 12 week cycle, you will have increased your water consumption at a slow and gradual pace. A long lasting healthy habit will become your new normal with less discomfort and anxiety.
This same system works with modifying your child’s behavior. Let’s take a child who has become addicted to video games. Slowly and gradually reduce the video game screen time every week until you get it to a reasonable amount of time.
Please share a healthy habit that would make a positive difference in your life in the comments below. We always enjoy seeing people striving to become a better version of themselves.