HABITS

If Your New Year Resolution Is Collecting Dust, You’re Not Alone

Going with the trend vs trusting your intuition.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Even my resolution for 2022 was to return to writing daily, but the motivation died with the sunset of January 1.

That’s because developing — and sticking with — a new habit means you need to let off your old behavioural patterns that get in your way.

Deciding what works best for you.

The shift in behaviour is not sudden. That’s why most new year resolutions fail. We expect too much in too little time.

Also, everyone around you seems to set up a new resolution, so why not you, right?

If the motivation doesn’t come from inside, it will die sooner than you’ll know.

A solution to it is to side with your intuition rather than social media trends and try to catch up with the world.

Direction over speed.

Last week I started my new 100-days fitness transformation challenge. It is about developing a self-taught ( learning from books ) fitness challenge because I have already gone through the previous two levels successfully:

  1. Hitting the gym regularly.
  2. Workout with a personal trainer.

Like the majority, I could have also started on January 1. But as I said, you have the power to set your auspicious day to transform your life, one branch at a time.

My day came when I was fed up with irregular sleep patterns and went through a mild existential crisis on my 25th birthday earlier this year.

Get fed up.

If you look carefully, you will find many signs that will force you to get over your old patterns and develop new habits.

Reading Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great start. But since the book is practice-intensive, it requires you to apply the lesson in your life as you learn the techniques mentioned in the book.

Are there shortcuts? Duh! No.

But there are ways to make your journey more exciting and energised.

Here are a few ways to make your journey entertaining:

  1. Reward yourself whenever you show up. The dopamine hit drives you to return the next time.
  2. Make your environment work for you. Lesser distractions lead to more focus. It is true especially when you have a low tolerance for distraction.
  3. Understand the compound effect of showing up daily. It trains your subconscious mind to work for you.

The question of “how long”.

The 21-day habit development method is a myth. It does work out for some people, but the number is peanuts.

The time it takes to develop a new habit depends on your learning speed. It can be 21 days, 100 days or even a year.

The more consistent you are, the sooner you will reach your goal because consistency trains your brain to go on auto-pilot. And attaining the auto-pilot stage is the absolute bomb! Wouldn’t it be easy when your mind forces you to get you in the action mode?

Closing thoughts

For example, learning to walk in childhood or learning a new language. It is a motor skill, but babies suck at it. They crawl and cry and crawl. But once a habit reaches your subconscious level, it becomes almost effortless. Do you still fall abruptly while walking? Unless you are hammered, the answer is no.

The same goes for any habit, whether it is life-sustaining or life-transforming. Training long enough to include the routine in your lifestyle is an effective way to ensure you don’t veer off track. 100 days is a reasonable target for me because I have done it more than once.

For you, it can be as low as 21-days or 10-days. As soon as you reach your first checkpoint, increasing the challenge by a small amount will help you gauge how long it takes to ultimately transform yourself into the person you want to become.

I end today’s article with a quote that has removed the need for motivation for me altogether:

“Motivation comes from action, not the other way around.”

Get fed up and show up on day 1. The compounding effect will take care of your journey as long you are consistent enough.

If you want to receive more stories like this, my lifelong learning newsletter is for you.

Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students in solving their doubts or busy with writing, he’s sweating either in a workout, PC gaming or playing 8-ball pool. You can also find him on Twitter.

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