Keep your new habits going

Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone about their New Year’s resolutions, you usually get one of these two answers:

“Well, I hope to lose 12 pounds and stop procrastinating and call my mom more and spend more time reading.”

You can basically fill in the gaps with any kind of ambition for personal improvement. Or do they say something like:

“Oh, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.”

So what makes a person more fit to want to create personal change and why do others move away so quickly? Too often, those who fall into the latter group of ignoring the tradition of resolutions admit that complying with resolutions is often too difficult, so just don’t bother. It’s the whole gym membership phenomenon in January. On the first day of the month, each treadmill is taken, occupied by an explosion of new colorful training equipment, water bottles, and determination to get in shape. February is coming, it is a ghost town.

Why can’t we maintain these new habits?

On the one hand, if you live in a place where the weather is cold, going to Pilates through the snow and snow sounds much less appealing than a Maid Netflix binge. But more than the weather-related discouragement, the truth is that it can be quite easy to cancel a change that seems daunting. To say that we will become different means that we have to do something different. And saying Yes something new is often frightening because we have to face what has already failed and move closer to the possibility that we may fail again. In short, new habits are difficult to form without self-imposed discipline or the encouragement of others. And probably what we really need is a little bit of each.

“It’s time to start something new and rely on the magic of the beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart

I’m usually the type of person who sets goals for the coming year. For me, it feels good to sit back and really think about what I want to happen. I like to think about how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go. But just because I like to set goals doesn’t mean I always meet them. I am a planning expert. I’m just so into running. Because? Here are some examples of my 2022 goals:

The big one:

  • Just say Yes if you really mean it.
  • Just say no if you really mean it.
  • Be (a little) less hateful.
  • Open a Roth IRA (adulthood!).
  • Don’t take it personally.

The little one:

  • Take better care of my hands.
  • Eat less dairy.
  • Have longer mornings.
  • Do something less.
  • Drink more tea.

While some of these were fairly easy to mark from my list (I opened a retirement fund!), Others were harder to implement on a daily basis. I didn’t always maintain my firmness when it came to yes or no and this year I had my fair share of cheese. I didn’t always get something off my to-do list that I could expect, and I have half a dozen bottles of half-cuticle oil used in my nightstand drawer.

But instead of taking my wrong steps as a reason to give up completely, I choose something else: I don’t feel bad for any of the times I wasn’t 100% successful. Because? Because I know I have tried. I kept these goals in mind and struggled to achieve them. I fell short, a lot. Other times I took steps that still left me very satisfied with my successes. And most of my goals made me responsible in front of myself, so when I failed, I was just disappointed (not to mention that shortcomings aren’t a big deal when you don’t have to answer to anyone, but it’s easier to use). -les). as an opportunity to reflect, regroup, and recover).

“I am firmly convinced that every few years life has to be shaken through a sieve, like a miner in the Yukon. The gold nuggets remain. The rest fall like the soft earth it is.” – Amy Poehler

Sometimes you shrug your shoulders at the cashier who was rude to you and sometimes not. Sometimes you find yourself 15 minutes early waiting patiently to be told your name, and other times you find yourself running through the door, still late another date. Sometimes you have a long, relaxing morning, reading, thinking. Sometimes all you can do is not pour that fourth cup of coffee and count the minutes until you can go back to bed. It’s all part of how we learn.

So how do we try to meet our expectations without losing our minds?

Attach new habits to existing ones. One example: by this time last year I wanted to start meditating daily, but I didn’t know how to incorporate this new practice into my daily routine. So I thought when I wanted to meditate: early in the morning. And I thought about the first thing I did every morning: drink a cup of water. I’ve been doing this for so long that it no longer seems like something to think about. I just do it. So I tried to make a connection: Water + meditation = suddenly a new habit formed.

Don’t consider it a failure. See above. *

* But seriously, sometimes pizza is better than kale and sometimes staying up late to have a conversation with an old friend is more important than sleeping eight hours. Just because we don’t do what we want every time doesn’t mean we’ve made a mistake without repair. It means we are human. As such, we are incredibly flexible and able to recover.

Repeat. Just because you can’t maintain a habit for a year doesn’t mean it will never happen. Therefore, if you are not satisfied with the progress (or lack of progress) you have made in a particular goal, please try again. Who knows, maybe 2022 will be the year of a healthy cuticle and a perpetually minimalist to-do list.

This piece was originally written by Helen Williams for Holstee.

holstee_logo_2Originally published in Holstee’s Mindful Matter, the best place to read stories and tips on how to live life to the fullest.

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