New Year’s resolutions are usually lofty goals. Whether exercising more consistently or eating more healthy, resolutions are great. So what’s the reason for “habits” instead of “resolutions”?
Our brain does not like change; it likes what is familiar. Willpower is a finite resource that we have to use every day, and it fades as the day goes on. Studies done by Daniel Kahneman, author of “Thinking Fast and Slow” state that people lose about 47% of their willpower every day. Humans are equipped with a limited amount of mental energy to resist temptation. This mental energy has to be available almost every waking hour of the day.
The problem is that our willpower might not always be there when we need it, and this is how resolutions fail, generally after six weeks.
Experts have suggested that changing resolutions to habits will increase your chance of success. Creating new habits can be hard, but you can do it in short term by focusing on only one habit every 21 days. If you are able to pursue that habit for 66 consecutive days, then the action becomes automatic and you don’t have to think about doing it again.
Keep the new habit specific – Instead of deciding to “Exercise more,” tell yourself that you’ll go for a 30 minute walk three times a week before work.
By setting a specific goal, your brain will be able to focus on the accomplishment. In fact, keep your goal SMART and you are on your way to new habits becoming part of your daily life.