With the turn of the year approaching, comes the always anticipated (or dreaded) New Year’s resolutions. Now if you’re like most people, you probably stick to your resolutions for a month or two, and then stop trying. There’s no shame in that–I’m the exact same way! So this year, I wanted to try something different. I want to try breaking my habits before the new year, in hopes that I can stick with my goals longer. If you’re interested, try these strategies with me so we can all break our bad habits.
One Step at a Time
Firstly, identify the thing about yourself or your lifestyle that you want to change. This can be big or small, like trying to work out three times a week or trying to curse less. Regardless, your goal should be something realistic and attainable for you.
After you decide on what you want to work on changing, it will probably be helpful to create “punishments” for not upholding your end of the goal. For example, if your goal is to eat healthy, and you eat unhealthy before the “cheat day”, you have to then eat healthy on what would have been your “cheat day”. Coming up with rewards will also help. For example, if you eat healthy all week, and only snack on your “cheat day”, then at the turn of every week you can buy yourself your favorite coffee drink. Punishments and rewards are better reinforcers when they align with your goals.
How to Stick With It
Once you’ve been progressing towards your goal for a couple of weeks, and you’re more committed, you can take bigger steps.
The next step in breaking bad habits is to change your environment to avoid “triggers” or “stressors” that give you the opportunity to go back to your bad habits. Sticking with the example of healthy eating, changing your environment for this goal could be getting rid of all junk food in your house. If your goal is to floss more, it could be to leave floss out on the counter so it’s easier to remember. Changing your environment can include big or small reminders to aid your progress.
Another way to stick with your goal is to coach yourself through it! Don’t be too hard on yourself; be positive but challenge yourself along the way. Setting goals should be a positive change for you and your lifestyle. So don’t take it too seriously, have fun, and hopefully, we’ll all be more successful with a mindset like this.
Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.time.com