Your 2014 Resolutions & How to Keep Them
"January 1st is when you make New Year's resolutions. January 2nd is when you break 'em." You've heard that, right? It's almost a bad joke you tell yourself when come the middle of the month, and you're peering into your fourth cocktail at your best friend's big 40th birthday party. Oops!! Wasn't that your New Year resolution #2? Drink less! Oh well.. now that you've broken that resolution, let's toss the other 4:
1. Lose weight;
3. Exercise more;
4. Connect more with family; and,
5. Advance your career
Just the season working its magic?? Nah...new research suggests that the reason resolutions rarely last has to do more with bad habits, than your resolve. Jeremy Dean, founder of Psyblog and author of "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick" has this to say about the age-old question we ask ourselves: Why is it so difficult to change?
"Bad habits form the same way as all the good ones! All our habits form through repeating the same actions in the same situation. Each time we repeat our actions in the same situation, it gets stronger. Over time the unconscious takes over until we perform habits automatically with little input from our conscious selves. This is part of the reason habits are so hard to change: we do them without thinking." (ref: articles.latimes.com/2013/Jan/01)
To fix your bad habit for good, you need good mental and behavioral strategies, the experts say. For e.g., to achieve your 2014 fitness goal, you need to have a plan. A simple, mini plan that will make sure this year will be different:
1. CREATE A ROUTINE:Teach your brain that it's time to exercise by planting a cue, like putting on your sneakers the minute you wake up or get home from work at night. WHY THIS WORKS: Author Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit says "a routine gives your brain something to latch on to."
2. SET SMALL GOALS: Want to run 5 miles three times a week? The first week, just wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Slowly increase until you reach your goal. WHY THIS WORKS: "Habit formation is built on small wins."
3. CHOOSE A REWARD: After you hit your daily goal—no matter how tiny—treat yourself: as piece of chocolate, 20 minutes of Web browsing, whatever else you genuinely like. WHY THIS WORKS: You're training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy."
4. WRITE IT DOWN: List your cues and rewards, like: "Monday, 7 p.m.: Put on workout gear+one square of dark chocolate." WHY THIS WORKS: "Identifying your routine significantly increases the chances that the habit will take hold." (excepted from Marie Claire, Jan. 2013/marieclaire@play)
You did it! Now use the same action plan to tackle the 4 other resolutions on your list...yahoooooooooo!