The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to develop new habits. It’s a fresh start isn’t it and our time to start a new chapter.
One of the most frequent questions arising in my coaching sessions at the moment is to know how to cement good habits. Because let’s face it, right at the beginning we’re quite motivated. We have this idea of what we want to change or achieve and we’re excited to get started.
As the year wears on though the excitement wears off.
It’s not new anymore and maintaining what we started is a whole different ball game.
The stats say that by the end of March over 50% of people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions. And I would imagine it’s the same for goals too.
There are a whole heap of reasons why this may be, such as not knowing how to set an effective goal and blah de blah de blah. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. This is important, but I believe there’s more to it than that.
Of course, there’s also the theory that some people find it easier to start new habits and projects. And there are others who find it easier to maintain them. It’s a personal strategy. And there is certainly truth in this, but you normally need the help of a coach to work through managing your strategy.
For you reading this now, I want to take a simpler approach. By breaking it down a bit into self imposed obstacles it will hopefully enable you to work through it yourself.
Your new habit may not be realistic enough
Sometimes we throw ourselves in headfirst and do the new habit full boar. This is great at the beginning when it’s fresh and exciting, but even after a couple of weeks we can start to struggle.
This is because it takes time to build momentum. In actual fact, through professional and personal experience I have come to believe it takes around 90 days to build a sustainable habit.
Notice I used the word “build”.
When a tradesman builds a house, he doesn’t throw the whole thing up all at once. He does it in increments, carefully laying the foundation first. And he allows that to settle before he starts building the framework etc.
It’s the same with a new habit. Start small and gradually build on it. Developing it slowly like this makes it sustainable.
Old habits may clash with your new ones
This is also quite common. Too many people get clear on what they want to achieve and the new habits associated with that. But they forget to do an audit before they initiate their new routine. And if we don’t have the awareness by taking stock we can’t make the necessary changes.
Over time we possibly feel like we’re under the pump, trying to fit too much into a small time frame. And there is even the possibility that our old habits are sabotaging our new ones.
Before you get started on your new way of living, first take stock of what you already do. Then look at what you can stop doing or need to eliminate for good.
Our values get in the way of our new habits
Yes you did read that correctly!
Values are incredibly powerful and we don’t work against them easily. If we haven’t aligned our fresh goals and habits with our values, then we eventually hit a brick wall.
The problem here is that values are usually unconscious. It often takes work with a coach to gain full clarity and become conscious of them.
Understanding our values can be life changing. And those new practices really do need to be in alignment with them. If they clash with something else that is important to you, then you’re going to stop what you are doing. Or you’re going to keep falling off the wagon. It’s that simple.
When you’ve designed the new practices you want to commit to for the year, have a look at what they might clash with. Explore what else you put your time into that is important to you. If there is a clash or you don’t have time to do both, look at how you can modify or combine them.
Finally, remember it takes time and flexibility to sustain any change
Only time is going to tell and it’s about you staying committed. You don’t know what you’ll come across before you start something new. It’s only by taking the first step that you see.
But once you begin, flexibility is the key. The way you initially designed your new routine, might not work. Then it’s about making slight adjustments as you go, instead of giving up by March along with the other 50%.
Make this year different. You’ve got this!
If after implementing these tips you find you’re still falling off the wagon or hitting a brick wall, working with a coach can give you a deeper shift. You may find that helpful. To see if coaching is the right fit for you, book your Clarity Call HERE.