New Year’s Resolutions are always eagerly picked up in January and abandoned by the time February comes around. It isn’t that you don’t want to make a positive change — it’s that New Year’s Resolutions tend to be so momentous and overwhelming that they simply aren’t achievable. It isn’t that you can’t meet those goals; it’s that it’s hard to do it all at once. Just like a project, it’s better to break a big thing into smaller steps.
Creating a “Good Habit”
Though the exact numbers vary by study, it’s said to take anywhere from thirty days to three months to form a habit. Any change in your life requires active mindfulness up until the point it becomes something “automatic” that is easy to do. And that makes the very beginning stages the most vulnerable.
Slowly crafting your habits through a series of small changes creates lasting development that you can build on, rather than simply trying to achieve everything at once and becoming disappointed in yourself if you fail.
Splitting Large Changes Into Smaller Habits
Let’s say that you want to improve your sleep schedule. That can be a rather broad goal — and if you start finding your sleep schedule drifting throughout the year, you may feel as though you failed. But you can split this into smaller habits, such as:
- Foregoing caffeine at the end of the day.
- Not getting in any “screen time” two hours before bed.
- Trying to go to sleep at the right time every night.
This doesn’t just set a goal, but also creates actionable, small habits that you can complete to reach that goal. A goal can be useless if there’s no direction to obtain it.
Habits get your brain to work for you rather than against you. Eventually, you’ll find that you don’t need to think about these things at all; they’ll become automatic, and you’ll find your goals easily fulfilled.