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New year, new habits

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Managing the ‘Hit and Miss’

Have you decided to try something new and found that after a few days or a week, that nothing has improve as much as you thought it would, so you give up?

This is very common when trying to introduce new habits, or working towards new goals.

So why didn’t it work?

Where your expectations, or target goals, too high either for the new habit or on yourself for achieving it?

Did you listen to your inner critical voice which convinced you that you are not going to achieve this so why bother? Or you've missed your target a few times and that feeling of defeat is too strong to continue?

Were these target goals based on your values? You can work out what your values are by thinking about how you would like to behave in any situation throughout your day. How would you like to treat yourself, and others. List the qualities you admire, and those you would like to adopt if you don’t already have them.

It’s thought that it can actually take up to three weeks to establish new habits. Have a look at your goals or new habits, and see if they are realistic. Can it be adjusted and broken down into smaller goals? Identifying our values helps gain a sense of fulfilment as we work towards our goals. The goal is just a bonus if you achieve it. What do you value? For example, kindness, courageous, caring, honest, trusting, mindful etc.

When you’re trying to make a difference in your life, you’re not only introducing a new habit or goal. You are also working against the behaviours and habits you have had for a number of years. Have you ever seen a salmon swimming back up stream to return to its breeding ground. That’s what it could be like when introducing a new habit. It’s hard work.

Introducing a new habit and using it consistently will help maintain the change and give it a chance to work.

Track your progress – take time to look back and see how far you’ve come. If you’re constantly swimming upstream you could miss the chance to track progress. If you feel you’re not getting anywhere with it, your inner critical voice could kick in and knock your confidence. We work better when we are rewarded for things rather than chastised, associating the new behaviour with pleasure. How could you track your progress and schedule in time to reflect. How might you also reward yourself for working hard at this?

Start with making a list of things you would like to achieve, or make changes to in your life, including the qualities you value. Break these down into smaller tasks that are realistic and achievable.

Check in what you have control over when making these changes. If there’s something out of your control then it’s unlikely to change.

Work out how you could achieve the first steps, what resources you might need, who else needs to be included with this to support you, and then schedule in the first step towards the life you want to live.

Image by Giovanna Orlando from Pixabay

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