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Creating New Year’s Resolutions that Last

With the new year in swing, it is common for us to want to start afresh. You want to leave destructive mindsets and habits in 2022 and enter 2023 with a new approach to life. However, in order to commit to that approach and make resolutions that you follow through on, it is important to take a step back and examine yourself. What are your usual tendencies? What are the habits that are harder for you to shrug off? Which routines do you typically fall into? Assessing, accepting, and taking advantage of your usual tendencies will play an integral role in making effective improvements to your life.

If sudden lifestyle changes on January 1st worked, many of us wouldn’t have the same resolutions year after year. Drastic changes often lead to early disappointment and discouragement that halt our efforts to improve before we see real progress. However, more sustainable growth can be achieved when you use simple yet calculated strategies that leverage who you have been to bring you closer to who you want to be. In his book “Atomic Habits,” author and behavior science expert James Clear shares that it is the systems that we have in our lives that dictate if we accomplish our goals — not our desire, wish, or motivation. If you want to make a life change, you have to tailor new habits to the life you actually live. Insiders, we have to be honest, practical, and intentional if we want to stick to our resolutions.

Sit back and think about your typical day. What do you usually do first thing in the morning or last thing at night? How do you get from point A to point B? Which actions tend to follow each other? Start to create a general map of your day and be specific about the when, what, where, and how. The aim of this is for you to recognize the system in which you have been operating so that you can make alterations that flow with your default routine. In other words, we’re trying to integrate your goals into your life rather than create a new life around your goals.

Once you have outlined your routine, begin to look for where you can introduce your desired habits. Reflection and self-analysis will continue to be foundational for your progress, so incorporate the Better Every Day journal into your daily routine for prompts that make doing so easy and purposeful. Also, remember that consistency is more important than perfection. You should break down your goal to a manageable action that you can do even on your busiest day.

For instance, you might have a New Year’s Resolution to be more physically active. Your first thought may be to create a strict gym workout plan that you commit to multiple days of the week, and though that may be a good idea in theory, it may be difficult to maintain in practice. Instead, you could decide to walk or bike for a part of your daily commute to work, or you can take the stairs in the buildings that you frequently visit. Make the pathway to your goals simple and accessible so that you can grow into a new lifestyle.

Insiders, you are allowed to customize your definition of success. You are allowed to start small, and you are allowed to be a beginner. Dramatic changes are not necessary to create the life you want. By scaling down your approach and embracing your current reality, it will be easier to commit to new habits and stay consistent in the long term. I believe in your ability to create the lifestyle you desire – you just need to realize that what you want is not as out of reach as it seems.

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