Happy New Year!
We’re just one day into 2017, which may mean you’ve got one day under your belt of adopting whatever positive habit you’d like to cultivate in the New Year. Maybe you rose a little earlier this morning? Packed a colorful salad for lunch? Took a few minutes of your day to simply be? Whatever healthy habits you’re bringing into your life, we support you and want to help you stick to your goals. Here are some tricks to keep you going strong.
Find a buddy. It’s much easier to show up for your workout when you know a friend will be sweating alongside you, right? Research shows that sticking to any habit is easier with support. One reason is that roping in a friend makes you accountable. Another is that finding a partner usually makes activities more fun (ahem, burpees) and can bolster your relationship.
Make it attainable. Ah, the sweet taste of success. Achieving whatever you desire is much easier when it doesn’t feel like work. Rather than biting off one big goal, (say,
achieving Inbox Zero) start with a smaller more achievable step (perhaps, only checking email during a predetermined time window). Research shows that approaching our goals from this perspective can build momentum toward painlessly achieving bigger projects down the road. “Harvard researcher Teresa Amabile found that the single most powerful workplace motivator was small, daily progress,” according to Entrepreneur magazine. “Her research also uncovered that the most damaging thing to results was experiencing setbacks. If you can facilitate progress you facilitate better results.”
Stick to it. Though many believe that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, the scientist who shared this theory (back in the 1950s) in fact, said it takes a minimum of 21 days. Many self-help gurus picked up the idea but changed it to a total of 21 days – whoops! According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, on average it takes more than two months – 66 days to be exact – before a behavior becomes automatic. Rather than being discouraged by the time it takes to sink into a routine, let it be a motivator. If you find you drop the ball one day, or are having difficulty sticking to it after a month, you may just need more time. Remember, 66 days is an average. For some it can take as long as 254 days. Be kind to yourself, take a deep breath and stay the course.