Nearly a month has passed since we set our new year’s goals and resolutions. How is it going?! Have you had an honest check-in with yourself or those that are helping to keep you accountable for sustainable progress and a true lifestyle change? Remember, it is totally normal and expected that we will hit roadblocks and barriers to our success along the way. The key is to dust ourselves off and keep moving forward, ever forward.
Many say that it takes 21 days to form a habit and while that’s encouraging as we are 26 days in, that doesn’t mean it’s officially a habit and we can stop putting in the effort. According to Phillippa Lally; a health psychology researcher at University College London, a new habit usually takes a little more than 2 months — 66 days to be exact — and as much as 254 days until it’s fully formed. Undoubtedly, the results varied drastically from one person to another leading the researcher to claim that automaticity (i.e. how automatic the new behavior felt over time) takes between three to twelve times longer than 21 days.
Here is what makes the difference:
- Level of Commitment
- Internal and External Accountability
- Size of the Habit
Many of us will lose motivation over these next couple of weeks. It is ESSENTIAL to remember your WHY and for that reason, you have to decide why and how important that habit is to you. That is what keeps you focused and most likely to be successful!
Ask yourself this:
- What difference is it going to make to your day?
- How will that habit help you achieve your goals?
- How will that habit impact your relationships?
If you feel yourself falling off track, this is also a great time to check in and have an honest conversation with yourself and reflect on your goals. It helps you achieve that resolution. You have now been putting in the work and maybe you have a new sense of the reality.
Do you need to take a step back and create a more realistic goal or break a goal into a few mini goals? For example, create a pathway to that initial goal. If your goal was to run 30 min per day, maybe you should start by running 10 minutes four times per week. Then build up from there. Whatever it takes for you to achieve your goal is completely acceptable- you are being honest with yourself and this is so important. Also don’t judge yourself too harshly too early on as that will only increase the risk for lack of achievement and sustainability as well as having feelings of failure- when it is all unnecessary we simply didn’t create the right goal.
Check out the progression of new habits/goals/resolutions:
This is where your motivation is at an all-time high. During those days, you go above and beyond to practice your habit. Your habit is your favorite thing in the world at this stage. From here it starts to get challenging.
Most people quit between 4–10 days. What to do? Look for images, quotes, videos and tell your new “story” in an emotionally captivating language. Your task on days 4 to 10 is to reinforce your goals with the power of imagery. Once you pass the 10-day mark, your habit will become less of a challenge to perform.
Don’t ease your foot off the gas pedal just yet. Your task on these days is to note what difference this has made to your body and your day. Talk publicly about it, or start a blog. You are 2/3 of the way done. This is a mini-celebration.
Start marking your calendar for how many days you have left to finish your course. Each day you mark off will make you feel really good about how far you’ve gotten. This is the last 1/3 of the course.
Day 21 and After
By this time, your habit should become part of your daily routine. Your focus from here on should be on the long-term benefits of keeping this habit part of your daily routine and what further progress you can make if you continue this habit.
I hope this is helpful in re- energizing and motivating you to continue working towards your new year’s resolutions with realistic goals in mind! Don’t give up, simply access, re-adjust and move forward! You got this!!