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The year 2022 has come to an end, and with the start of the new year, 2023, we begin our list of resolutions.
Are you looking to achieve your ideal body? Want to learn how to play the guitar? Or wish to discover something new?
How often have you set goals at the beginning of the year and completely forgotten about them after a month? Don't worry; you are not alone! Have you ever thought about why you struggle to achieve your goals?
Here are some tips for building new habits to achieve your new year goals:
Create a 30-day tracker
You will be surprised to know that it takes only three to four weeks to build a habit. The initial conditioning is all that matters. If you can stick to your goals from the start, it will be much easier to stick to them in the coming days. Creating a monthly tracker is a helpful start to committing to a change. It assists you in visualising your progress and staying on track with your goals. Also, a tracker acts as motivation; once you see your progress, you are less likely to break your streak.
Start as a beginner
If you have ever played video games, you’d have noticed that there are levels as per your progress & expertise- beginner, amateur, semi-professional and professional. You need to start as a beginner if you want to become a pro. The same holds good for achieving any goal that you have set, like building your ideal body. You can’t just work out for 6 hours every day and build your body in just a month. Never try to change your life overnight. Start simple! Work out for a minimum of 30 minutes for 30 days. This is called the conditioning phase; you are building a routine to achieve your goal. Be careful not to overextend yourself. It is said that little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Habits take some time to develop, so make sure you keep them simple.
Create a ritual/Find your trigger
A trigger assists us in developing and maintaining new habits. For example, every morning when you sit down at your office desk, you make a task list of things you want to get done or respond to emails. As a result, sitting at your desk serves as your trigger. A trigger can be any other habit that you already have that will help you carry out the action that is intended to be the new habit. At some point, the link between sitting down and getting to work will become so strong that you will no longer need to force the situation.
Kaizen, also known as the 'one-minute principle' for self-improvement, is an excellent Japanese technique. Kaizen is a compound of two Japanese words that together translate as "good change" or "improvement." Kaizen promotes the practice of making a 1% improvement each day. Instead of going cold turkey on old habits, start by making small and easily achievable changes. Stay consistent with your practices. The more consistent your activities are, the easier it will be to stick to them.
Journaling every day
A research done by University of Rochester Medical Center states that journaling makes your goals clearer and helps you focus on the results. Most of us have been taught to write goals. However, only a few write down the progress we make each day. Simply writing down your progress daily can make you stick to your habit. The goal can suddenly look simpler when it's all written down on a single page. Journaling has also been recognised as an effective tool to reduce stress, help with depression and anxiety, and organise your life.
Set micro habits
Micro habits are tiny, everyday habits that steer you toward significant results. They are easy to incorporate because they are small and time-consuming. If your goal is to meditate for 30 minutes every day, then start building a habit of meditation for at least 5 minutes each day.
The power of solo acts
Many suggest finding a buddy to keep you motivated. Although this may work, it creates a dependency. Always learn to work alone, as this will help build a streak and give you the power to stay motivated. Studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management. An individual who enjoys alone time has a lower risk of depression. You may walk 10 kilometres daily, but your buddy may only be able to walk 5 kilometres, or the opposite is true. You need to understand your goal and plan accordingly. Building a habit on your own gives you the freedom to design and eliminates relying on others.
Create a reward system
While you set up a habit tracker and create a daily journal, it is also vital to create a reward system. A reward can be as simple as treating yourself to 1 hour of screen time if you complete walking 10,000 steps in a day. Or you were buying yourself a treat meal for working out 5 days a week. For a new habit to take hold, instant gratification is crucial. This reward system is a decisive factor in getting habits to stick. Practices are more likely to be repeated if they are immediately satisfying.
You can set several goals in January and forget about them in February. The key to building a habit and sticking to it is self-discipline. Setting the alarm to wake up at 6 AM is easy, but acting upon it - not so much. You can achieve a lot with a bit of discipline. To quote Brian Tracy, "A goal without a plan is only a dream", which is why it is crucial to create a goal, make a plan, form a habit and enjoy the new year.
Happy New Year, and let's make 2023 our best year yet!