With 2021 less than two weeks away, we’ve all been reminiscing on highlights and lessons, as well as planning to start afresh for the new year. Building a new habit is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but making it work has also been a common challenge.
James Clear, the author of the New York Times’ bestselling book Atomic Habits, explored the science of forming and breaking habits. He concluded that there are four important components that we should be aware of when it comes to Habits 101.
- Cue – cues trigger our brain to initiate a behaviour. They help us imagine the possible pleasant outcomes that will occur if we take the necessary steps. An example of a cue would be wanting to be fit.
- Craving is the second step, which motivates us to do the work. Without a sense of motivation, cues cannot become visible changes. For example, if we crave being fit, we’ll plan to be more active.
- Response is the action that we work on to achieve our goals – it depends on our level of motivation and how achievable the plan is. It would be more realistic to start out with a 15 minute morning walk, followed by flexible 10 minute of home workout, three times a week rather than jumping into a daily high-intensity interval training workout.
- Reward is the outcome of our efforts – you may feel less lethargic and more upbeat following your new routine to stay fit. Without the feeling of accomplishment, it would be hard to make habits stay.
Now, here are four steps you can follow to navigate through a new habit. New year, better you!
- Make your goal so small that it would be almost impossible to fail. Let’s say you strive to read more – rather than reading a book per week, perhaps you can start with a page a day!
- Gradually improve your progress every day – consistent progress will certainly keep the momentum going and excite you to reach your goal.
- Break down your habits into smaller chunks. Say your goal is to do 50 pushups per day, try to commit yourself to 10 pushups and five rounds instead.
- Steer yourself back on track once you have missed a target. At the end of the day, we’re only human – so it’s normal to slip up, but do try your best not to prolong that one day into days.
- Be patient with yourself, and do not rush results. It is most important to be kind to yourself and consistent as you work through your goals.
Let’s all aim for New Year’s resolutions that will manifest into great habits worth living up to. May the force be with you!