I really want to achieve my New Year’s resolution

Ny Resolution Jan 2022
Firstly, cut yourself some slack
we’ve got you on this

You committed to a very worthwhile New Year’s resolution. You shared this with people close to you and you are determined to check in with them in 3 months time to celebrate your success.

The satisfaction of their support and admirations will be so satisfying and confirm your efforts were well worthwhile. Your life, and those who depend on you, will be better off as a result of your resilience and steely determination to achieve what you set out to do. 

However, you’re reading this having so far stumbled to get any momentum towards actually achieving your New Year’s resolution.

It certainly isn’t time to panic and lose heart. Why? Because here we offer a practical solution that will ensure you manage to stick the new behaviour or action that initially got you fired up when the clock struck midnight?

The outcome? You will learn practical strategies, supported by neuroscience, that highly effective ‘doers’ employ. You can easily apply these strategies to every aspect of your life and confidently share them, and your success, with friends, colleagues and those you care about when they ask.

Let’s get stuck in to ‘Habit Stacking’

What is ‘Habit Stacking’ and how does it work?

Habit stacking is a simple behaviour hack that is proven to effectively support positive habit formation.

Firstly, be aware that No Behaviour happens without a prompt”  – B J Fogg, Founder of the Behaviour Design Lab, Stanford University: Author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.

Fogg presents (diagram below) the neurological loop of habits, which includes a cue (anchor or prompt), the behaviour, and a celebration.

Ny Resolution Neuro Loop

To initiate this cycle, be aware that you will reliably respond to prompts when you are motivated and able, which is exactly what makes well-timed prompts so powerful.

Initially, it’s critical that you find where your new, desired habit fits best into your day. Be mindful, where a new habit is embedded in your daily routine it can make the difference between action and inaction, success and failure.

For example: when you make your cup of tea or coffee in the morning, use the time when the kettle’s boiling to unpack the dish washer.

By stacking new habits onto existing habits like this example, will ensure your greatest chance of success in ‘sticking’ to the new habit.

The popular Gung-ho trap

On the flip side, a lot of people fail their New Year’s resolutions within two or three weeks because they take a gung-ho approach.

Sound familiar? ‘I’ll do 20 push up’s a day, three days a week!’

The common outcome? By the third week, their muscles ache, they get busy and don’t have time, it’s simple all too hard, and they stop all together!

Where does this go wrong? Completing 20 push ups a day, when you’re not used to it, is hard to do and it’s unlikely to become a habit.  

The ‘Tiny Habit’ approach

Starting off tiny reliably works. By reverting to a tiny habit (2 push up’s a day), that is strategically anchored (see above), will ensure the behaviour is easy to do and readily becomes a habit.

Can I increase the intensity? Absolutely, as you become used to completing the two push-up’s you can push yourself beyond tiny and ramp up the reps, over a period of time, to reach your goal of 20 per day, three days a week.  

The Tiny Habit recipe card

Use this practical tool to create the ideal recipe that suites your goals. Combine ‘Habit Stack’ a sequence of your new, desirable habits to see major success, including your New Year’s resolution in there somewhere.

* Remember B J Fogg’s tiny habit process method – After I … I will… then I’ll celebrate by…”

Ny Resolution Tiny Habits

Here’s some simple examples to help you out

+ After I… sit up in bed… I will… stretch for 10 seconds

+ After I… put the toothbrush in my mouth… I will… complete 2 squats

+ After I… hang up the phone… I will… get up and walk around the room for two minutes

+ After I… sit down to eat… I will… ask my children to tell me about the best part of their day

What is the psychology?

By implementing habit stacking, using tiny habits, your mindset will be focused and primed to give yourself permission to work towards a goal for the entire year. Whilst it might take a bit longer than you anticipated to habitualise your new behaviour you will avoid having to rely on willpower or memory, which has been proven to be finite cognitive resources.

What if I still fail?

Look at why you haven’t yet succeeded in attaining your set goal behaviour and learn from this (growth mindset). The cue (prompt) that you’ve decided on may possibly not be strong enough to instigate the desired behaviour.

Want a customised mental fitness solution?

Reach out via the links below to explore how we can support your personal mental fitness success.

Whether working with individual clients, or teams of people, Get Mentally Fit aim to effectively support the embedding of sustainable, positive behaviour.

Our programs and services are designed to achieve specific outcomes for all clients. This could include learning skills to minimise the disruptive effects of distraction.

Contact us direct to enquire into how we can support you through this process.

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