The past couple of years has been very daunting. The stress of the current pandemic, lockdowns, sickness of friends and family, economic hardship, etc has made it quite challenging for many of us. To cope with these pressures and struggles, many of us have slipped into not-so-productive habits.
Some of these bad habits were conscious decisions and some sneaked into our lives without us realizing it. Perhaps we decided to let the kids eat too many cereal dinners, maybe we drank a little more at nightS to calm our nerves, some of us resumed smoking as the stress levels rose high, maybe we spent a little too much time gaming or cruising social media. We all did what we could to survive and make the days go by, and that’s ok.
Now that we have a new year ahead of us, a new year that can be full of hope, It’s time to hit the reset button. And with the right help and the appropriate approach, anyone can do it. If we can learn and master what to do and what common pitfalls to avoid, creating new healthy or productive habits will be a lot more doable.
let’s see first:
What is a habit?
Habits are nothing but what we do daily without much conscious effort. Those are the ones that we repeated and will keep repeating over and over and we get quite comfortable with.
These repeated behaviors become part of who we are, they shape our identity.
What is the most important element of any habit?
If we look at our daily life and the habits that we do every day, we notice that these habits fit perfectly into our lifestyle. There is a minimal effort or thinking required on our end for the majority of our good or bad habits; We brush our teeth every night/morning, we flush the toilet every time we use the washroom, we clean our hands using the towels every time after washing our hands, we turn the computer on and take a sip of our morning coffee, we open the blinds first thing in the mornings, etc.
This fundamental element is what shapes a behavior into a habit. This low effort required, in addition to them fitting into our lives are the main two factors making any new habit stick or not. When we fail to pick up a new habit, the main reason usually is that we chose the wrong habit, to begin with. We chose a behavior that wasn’t easily adaptable to our current lifestyle; it just didn’t fit in.
Think about this scenario: You jumped the gun, dropped a few thousand dollars, and bought a brand new top-notch treadmill. Stuck it in the basement where you never normally go to and then hoped to lose x number of pounds by summertime. But when you think about it logically, you actually hate walking or jogging or running and you hate spending time in your dark basement that doesn’t have enough light. That being said, you don’t have to forfeit your dream of fitting into that bathing suit, rather if you analyze your likes & dislikes without judgment and also think about your lifestyle, maybe choosing to join a hot yoga class with a friend would be a way better option to routinely do exercise, maybe you can join a rock-climbing or swimming class instead.
Now when you want to create that new year’s resolution, think back to your last year and analyze your own life and your own routines, likes, and dislikes and believe me when I say if a habit works for your friend, it may not work for you and your life.
Try to figure out those actions that you are able to do and you also prefer to do. What are all those alternative actions that can move you toward your goal but can also easily fit into your current routines? Those actions will be the best habits that you can choose to add to your new year’s resolution list.