So you’ve come up with at least one or two New Year’s resolutions for 2016 that you were determined to stick to (keyword: were) and now you’re already feeling in a bit of a funk and maybe even ready to give up. The initial adrenaline rush of dreaming, brainstorming and putting a New Year’s resolution onto paper, so to speak, is now gone and you’re stuck in the muck of it. Sound familiar?
You’re trying to keep going, you really are … but with motivation and inspiration clear out the window at this point, you are questioning how you can possibly stick to your once-enthused New Year’s resolutions.
The good news is: you absolutely can!
Be Patient: Habits Take Time
Habits generally take quite a bit of time to formulate themselves into ongoing behaviors and routines. Studies have shown that it can take anywhere between 15 days to 254 days to truly form a new habit.
Sometimes, habits also must be formed beyond the initial adrenaline-pumping motivation phase. What does this mean? You need to push through the non-inspirational time, continue working towards your goals and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new-and-improved habit.
Understand the Habit Loop
Charles Duhigg – reporter for The New York Times and author of “The Power of Habit,” a book about the science of habit formation in our lives, companies and societies – says, “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
According to his book, MIT researchers discovered a simple neurological loop at the core of every habit that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. In order to form a brand new habit (or maintain a new one), Duhigg recommends identifying and diagnosing the components of your own “habit loop.”
The general idea, in summary, is to define a few “cues” to trigger the habit (your resolution or goal) and then reward yourself after you follow through with the habit routine to encourage good behavior.
Have Faith in the Process
You may feel downright defeated, uninspired, frustrated, hopeless or all of the above, and more. But remember, you CAN do this. You CAN stick to your New Year’s resolutions if you stick to these helpful tools.
And most importantly, give yourself some grace here – following through with a resolution and forming a new habit is really tough. Have faith in the process that forming a new habit takes time and that if you keep pushing ahead you will, albeit slowly but surely, reach your goals … and stick to them!