We are almost through January, and you've probably already made some resolutions (or maybe you haven't, like me)! It's amazing how this tradition has stuck around, even though it has historically been unsuccessful. According to recent survey data from Forbes, 64% of women feel that they're pressured to make New Year's Resolutions. 80% of people (both men and women) feel confident that they can achieve their goals, but 6% of respondents stuck with their resolutions for the long haul. I personally think this disconnect is because we set huge goals without having the tools to get there- good habits. In this post, I want to explore developing good habits that help us reach our big goals.
Planning to Fail
No matter how big our resolution is, if we haven't planned ahead to think about what habits that goal will require, then we are planning to fail. According to the Forbes data I mentioned above, 53% of people quit their resolutions in 3 months or less. What if, instead of picking a big goal that is often quickly forgotten, you pick smaller habits that will ultimately add up to what you hope to achieve, or who you want to be?
Part of the reason we give up so quickly is because we feel like we've failed already. That's why a few years ago, I started to plan out monthly habit goals instead of one big yearly goal. This means that if I get off track with a habit, I don't just throw in the towel and quit: I have a new habit to work on next month.
You can see my post about that in A Year of Positive Habits for Moms.
Planning for Habits
To get started, think about what areas you'd like to work on. These things typically sound like New Year's Resolutions because they're big and unspecific. It might be: stop yelling at my kids, get fit, get organized, improve finances, etc. Write each goal at the top of a column on a sheet of paper. Then brainstorm which habits will help you get there. Put down 3-5 habits for each goal, depending on how many goals you have.
You can choose to plan out an entire year of habits, or take each month at a time.
Choosing the Right Habits
The key here is choosing the habits that are going to help you reach your goals. If you are new to this, start small. In that case, it will take you MORE habits to reach your goals, so it would be wise to have fewer goals.
Here are some suggestions based on your goals:
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Only eat when you're hungry
- Exercise x number of days a week
- Get x numbers of steps each day
- Use your planner for 5 minutes every day
- Spend 15 minutes a day organizing your home
- Track how many items come in and out of your home
- Plan meals for 5 days each week, for one month
Becoming a calm mom-
- Spend time praying and reading the Bible before your children get up
- Plan to take a two minute break when you start to feel angry
- Take 10 minutes a day to read a book or research about this topic
- Have a no-spend month
- Write down every dollar you spend
- Use the cash envelope system, budgeting what you'll spend in different categories with cash
Working On Your Habits
I've written a lot about habit formation in the past, but essentially, what you need to make sure that these habits stick is a good routine (habit cue), consistency, a reason to do the new habit (reward), and time. My Podcast partner Amy and I have a habit-training course that helps you use this habit loop to create your own positive habits.
A Book recommendation for you
|Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
By James Clear / Avery
If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. In Atomic Habits you'll learn a proven system that can take you to new heights.
What habits will you work on this year?