Forget Resolutions, Build Good Habits

As the year is wrapping up and I am reflecting on what I want to accomplish in the new year, as usual, I have considered making the dreaded “New Years resolutions”. Like everyone else in the world, I have good intentions but never stick to them. So, this year, I’m planning to continue to build good habits that will help me improve and accomplish more in the new year. What’s the difference between having a New Years resolution and building a habit? Here are a few thoughts:

New Years Resolutions tend to be:

  • Too broad. People make resolutions like, “start exercising” but what does that mean?
  • Too dramatic. If you don’t run at all, and you make a resolution to run ten miles a week, you will fail on day one.
  • Too lofty. “I’m going to eat healthy in 2016.” Come on, we know that’s not achievable. How do you even define “eat healthy” over the course of a year?

Good habits should be:

  • Finite. Create a habit like “excercise for 20 minutes 5 days a week” and pre-set a time when you will do it. Or, “walk 10,000 steps a day” and determine that you will not turn on your TV at night until you have a minimum of 9,500 steps.
  • Incremental. Habits can build on each other. If you create a habit of taking 10,000 steps a day successfully, add to that something simple like “run for 15 minutes.” Adding running to your routine helps you reach your steps and helps you to add a new habit that will be good for you.
  • Down to earth. Try something like, “eat one fruit and two vegetables each day” or “drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning (before coffee).” These are both ways of eating healthy, but they are a manageable and measurable habit you can create.