“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Will Durant
The 8% success rate of new year’s resolutions shows we just don’t know how to stick with habit change. We want to share with you the psychology behind starting new habits, changing old habits, and staying motivated. Think of this as your toolkit for setting yourself up for success – not just at the start of the year, but every day!
Making behavioral changes:
Habits are conditioned responses, and so to create new habits or change old ones, we must identify our cue that stimulates undesired behavior, and then change our response. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit states simply we must pick a small action, pair a new habit with an existing habit, and make it relatively easy to do, at least in the first week. Here is a short video clip about identifying the habit and changing your response.“38% of people surveyed said their stress level increased during the holiday season. Participants listed the top stressors: lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings.”
Another great way to change behavior is by changing your self-story through story-editing. Your self-story is your personal narrative about who you are that guides your behavior. Dr. Timothy Wilson, an expert on story-editing says we should write out our existing story paying special attention to behaviors that conflict with our goals. Next, revise your self-story to incorporate things you would like to change. This reflective writing task can have a profound impact on our personal narratives and instill positive change.
Here are some tips for staying motivated and keeping those changes:
- Write down your goals.
- Prepare for set-backs.
- Stay positive.
- Don’t forget to reward yourself.
“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart” – Roy Bennet
Now that we have addressed making changes, how can we succeed holistically in the New Year?
Starting your day off right and making meaning in your life
- Engage in gratitude each morning.
- Prepare for your morning the night before.
- Engage in activities that make you happy.
- Take care of your body and mind.
Some Useful Resources:
For more information on staying motivated click HERE.
For information on the types of motivation click HERE.
For more information on starting your morning off right click HERE.
For more information on making meaning in your life click HERE.
For more information on why some New Year’s resolutions don’t work click HERE.
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