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Don't Make Resolutions, Build Habits Instead

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/12/19/dont-make-resolutions-build-habits-instead/

forbes.com

Don't Make Resolutions, Build Habits Instead
Inspired to make New Year's resolutions? Don't. Build habits instead. Why? Resolutions are big, bold actions that depend on motivation. They work against the brain's natural tendencies to save energy and act as a "mental couch potato," as described by UCLA professor and Director of Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory Dr. Matthew Lieberman in his book.

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Resolutions Don't Work

Resolutions feel huge, requiring a lot of mental bandwidth and loads of constant motivation to keep up. Resolutions are easy to decide on but tough to maintain daily.

Habits...

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Habits: Start Small

Start small with something you already desire or like to do, to ease out the entire process for you right at the start.

For example, if you plan to write more, why not buy a journal and a ...

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Trigger New Action

Choose a 'trigger' action you already do to initiate the new habit you want to form.

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Simple Actions

Whatever task you plan to do, make it as simple and doable as possible, removing any friction that can lead to putting it off.

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Adjusting Your Environment

Create or adjust your environment to provide you with cues to take on the positive habit of action.

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Celebrate

Tell yourself what a good job you are doing, and get your brain to be happy, by celebrating even the smallest success.

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Repeat And Evaluate

Repeat your actions daily, while evaluating them on a weekly basis.

Enable faster growth of your positive habit by following the process of repetition and evaluation.

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Habit matching

When planning on building new habits, one easy way to integrate them into your everyday routine is by actually adding them to an already existing habit. 

Therefore, choose one habit y...

A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Pointing and calling our habits

Pointing-and-calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. 

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less...

The Habits Scorecard

... for discovering which habits to change:

  • Make a list of your daily habits.
  • Decide which is a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit, by how they will benefit you in the long run.
  • There is no need to change anything at first, simply acknowledge what is actually going on.

Change and awareness

Changing a behavior always starts with awareness. 

Focus on recognizing your habits and acknowledge the cues that trigger them, which makes it easier to discover which habits you should change and respond in a way that benefits you