For most, a new year usually begins with a resolution or two. The term resolution is simply a decision to do or not to do something. Tony recently added a blog that went into great detail about New Year’s resolutions and you can check that out here. This blog isn’t necessarily about New Year’s resolutions and whether or not they’re worth it or ideas on how to stick to your resolution this year. I want to keep it simple and talk about one thing: habits.
A habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously– we just do things. Some of these things are good, some are not so good. We all have a pretty good idea of what habits are good for us and what habits are bad. A New Year’s resolution usually revolves around removing a bad habit:
“This year I want to quit smoking.”
“This year I will stop eating fast food.”
Identifying a bad habit and verbalizing that you know it is bad is a big step in the right direction. However, a bad habit can’t just be removed, it must be replaced. Simply saying that you want to quit smoking or eating fast food more does not give you an actionable plan.
My big habit change this year is to be more frugal in how/where I spend my money. In order to accomplish this habit change I have downloaded an app on my phone that tracks where I am spending my money and lays it out in front of me to see. Rather than spending money frivolously on unnecessary things, I will be saving those dollars in a retirement account (getting older one day at a time!). I have verbalized a bad habit (frivolous spending), I am replacing the bad habit with a good one (retirement account), and I’ve got an actionable plan (phone app) to help see it through. Removing a bad habit like frivolous spending, or smoking, or being sedentary leaves a big void that must be replaced by a good habit.
Here is my challenge to you: Start small. Start with a small habit change you know you will accomplish before moving onto a bigger one. Having your big changes in mind is important but let’s build some confidence in making changes before we tackle the big ones. Here are three easy examples:
Drink more water.
Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than normal.
Add one (more) vegetable to my daily food intake.
I hope you found this somewhat helpful and I would love to hear what your plans are to make some simple habit changes in your life. Progress, not perfection!
Leave a comment for us or talk to one of the coaches in person at ASF, we’re always here to chat! If there is anything I can to do help you accomplish a habit change, please do not hesitate to ask!