January is already half over and it's time to look at New Year's resolutions. Are you well into your new habits, or haven't you started yet? If you haven't quite broken the habits you want to change or acquired new ones yet, that's actually quite normal.
Researchers estimate that it takes between 30 and 60 days to change a habit. Our lives are very much governed by habits - and things you do automatically. And it can be difficult to break patterns that are fundamental to the way we live our lives.
There is hope yet. But how do you break these habits?
We've put together our top 5 tips to help you start or keep your New Year's resolution, in the best way possible, so you (hopefully) can keep it:
- Start with small steps. It takes time to change a habit, and the best way to change it is one step at a time. Change is a proces.
- Try again. You've set yourself a goal, and it's perfectly normal to fall into the same old habits when you want to change. Practice forgiving yourself and then slowly get back on the horse, focusing on your goal. Maybe you need to make sub-goals that eventually lead you to the final one?
- Make a checklist and say it out loud. For most people, praise is a motivator. If you tell those around you about your desire to change, we are more likely to succeed. Because much of our behavior is controlled by our environment.
- Nurture the good triggers. Is your New Year's resolution to live healthier or exercise more? Often, it's just small things that change the urge to continue old patterns. Set up your environment so it doesn't discourage you but helps you along the way. Make a meal plan and shop once a week. If you are not presented with the unhealthy stuff, you are less likely to make impulse purchases when you approach the sweet aisle at the supermarket. Put out your running shoes and workout clothes. Ditch the drawer of full of sweets and snacks and replace with healthy alternatives.
- Harness your energy. Most people have the most energy in the morning and willpower wanes during the day. As we are exposed to more and more temptations throughout the day, it becomes harder to resist. Take advantage of the renewed energy that a good night's sleep brings. Exercise, shop, prepare your packed lunch or prepare the evening's healthy snack bowl in the morning.
Ultimately, a New Year's resolution is about making the goal a habit. Planning is key when you want to change the habit. But in the end, the desire to change, the mindset and the decision to change are what determine success.