We all have habits, both good and bad, that we would like to change about ourselves – some more than others. Sometimes a life event can provide the catalyst for that change. Like the friend who couldn’t quit smoking despite repeated attempts and then quit cold turkey the day she found out she was pregnant. No patches, no gum, just the decision to put her child first.
For most people though, real change takes energy, stamina and resolve and, as it turns out, about 66 days. That is the length of time that researchers have discovered it takes for a new habit to take hold. And since habit forming and habit breaking are so closely linked, researchers also found that it was easier for people to do something rather than to not do something.
In other words, start thinking of the flip side of your bad habits as good habits. Sit too long in front of the computer? Vow to get up and walk about every 30 minutes. Drinking too much coffee? Try replacing every other coffee with a glass of water. Breaking a habit really means establishing a new habit. Even then, many of us get easily overwhelmed and discouraged. The following are 4 things you can do this time around to make sure you reach your resolutions this 2017.
The important thing here is to take small steps. Don’t try to do everything at once. Instead of saying “I’m going to exercise every day,” try “I’m going to exercise 3 times a week.”
Change one habit at a time. Instead of “I’m going to quit eating junk food, drinking coffee and staying up late, start with “I’m going to be in bed by 11:00pm during the week.”
Develop a specific plan for the habit you want to change. Instead of saying “I’ll exercise more,” write down “I will start walking 30 minutes, three times a week at 7:00am around the block, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
Remember, it takes on average 66 days for a new habit to take hold. Just keep at it.
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