As you head into the New Year, it’s the perfect time to take a look at your habits—good and bad—and make decisions that will help you start out 2016 on the right foot. Unfortunately, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 54% of people who resolve to change their ways fail to make a transformation that lasts beyond six months. In fact, the average person makes the same resolution 10 times without success.
It’s easy to fall into patterns of behavior that might not be healthy: mentally, emotionally, or physically. But, you don’t have to stay in those patterns! It’s entirely possible to start 2016 with the good habits you want while cutting out all those bad habits. It’s just a matter of having the right steps in place.
Set Clear Goals
No matter if you’re trying to start a good habit or break a bad one, the key is a clear set of goals. You need to define exactly what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want to give up smoking in 2016? Set simple, daily goals to help you achieve your new smoke-free lifestyle. In your diary, make a note of every cigarette you have each day and work on slowly cutting it back. Or, if you’re going cold turkey, check off every day you make it smoke-free. You can do the same with a good habit. If you want to work out more, set a goal for how many days a week you want to workout and for how long. Then, work toward it and check it off in your diary each day.
To set new habits, you have to get serious. Habits are habits for a reason. They’re things you’re so used to doing that you don’t even think about it. To kick a bad habit takes concentration and a desire to make a change. You must be fully invested. That’s why we love our 2016 Diary—it will help keep you accountable when you need it most.
Don’t Change Everything at Once
Do not try to get over five bad habits while starting five new good habits all at once. First of all, you’ll be overwhelmed in no time. It’s as ridiculous as making the decision to write out 100 notes all at once—you’ll quickly be lost in the noise. Instead, focus 2016 on breaking one or two bad habits and then replacing them with better habits. Taking on the world and your life in small chunks will help you make sure that you actually make the changes you want and need this New Year.
Maintain Your Momentum
If you’ve set clear and specific goals, you might feel like you’ll achieve your dreams in no time. The truth, changing your habits is a long, drawn-out process. You’ll have to keep your momentum going for a long time to make a difference. The key is to stick with what’s working while adding rewards until the new habit you want is a habit in truth. For example, if your new desired habit is to spend more time hiking outside, then buy yourself new hiking boots after the first month of success to help keep up your momentum.
Use Visual Cues
You need to remind yourself every day that you are trying to start a new habit. Put a sticky note or memo on your bathroom mirror. Make it the first thing you see every day and the last thing you see each night. That way, you can begin to internalise your new habit with a constant visual reminder. It’s also a great idea to use our Jot It Down 2016 Diary to keep track of your new habits and how you’re working toward achieving each goal. If you’re trying to get in the habit of getting to work on time, mark it off in your diary every day you achieve your goal so you can visually track your success.
Changing your habits in 2016 is not something you should ever try alone. Ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable. Encourage them to call you once a week or more to make sure that you’re sticking to your plans and your goals. Even better, if you can try to break a bad habit or start a new good habit alongside someone else, you can encourage each other.
We believe 2016 can be your best year yet. Follow our steps to setting new habits and watch your life change for the better!