At this time of year, nearly everyone is reflecting on their wishes and resolutions for the new year. But wishing is easy. The most important part is turning those wishes into actual habits to improve your life in 2017.
Here is the list of what has worked for me in the past. Two years ago, top on my list was punctuality. Today, I have mastered the art of punctuality because of what I’m sharing with you in this post.
Follow these steps to create and maintain new, healthy habits in the new year.
- Start by listing habits that limit you in different areas of your life.Consider your habits that relate to work, family, health, fitness, finances, relationships and social life. Be as specific as possible. For example, punctuality was at the top of my list because it affects my work, personal relationships and social life.
- Write down how these bad habits affected you in 2016. For example, whenever I’m late for a meeting, I feel uncomfortable.
- Write down the desired habits you wish to adopt in 2017. Personally I love to write down all my plans. That way, it’s easier for me to follow through. Since habits typically develop over time and cannot be changed overnight, remember to be realistic. Try choosing one habit to focus on each month, and work on it until you master the habit.
- In the book, the “The Power of Focus”, the authors advised that you identify 2 to 3 action steps that will propel your new behavior. Include these actions on your daily to-do list. For example, I had to set an alarm clock that would ensure my punctuality. I also researched how long it would take me to arrive at the destination. I set out my clothes a day before my meeting. You may feel free to share your daily progress with an accountability partner. Just be sure to work toward your goals every day.
- Record your victories each day, regardless of how large or small.This practice will encourage you to keep going, while also improving your self-confidence. Try writing down these victories every night during while you review your daily tasks and prepare your agenda for the following day.
- Celebrate your victories by giving yourself a treat. You’ll keep yourself motivated when you incorporate periodic rewards.
Remember, creating a new habit isn’t easy. The longer you’ve repeated a bad habit, the harder it will be to break, making the first steps feel daunting, challenging and frustrating. To maintain momentum, you must take full responsibility for your goals and actions.
When I decided to manage my time better, I spent two years struggling to maintain and update my calendar. Instead of doing this each night, my calendar updates were sporadic. At one point, I even gave up. But eventually I decided to try again. And just two years ago, I finally mastered time management. Since then, my life has been without stress, daily frustrations and forgotten appointments, including dentist appointments for my children.
Although I reached most of my goals for 2016, I have additional wishes for 2017. Therefore, I have listed ten new habits that I intend to develop in the coming year. I plan to share the results of my new habit formation several months from now. So stay tuned.
In your case, it may not be a case of habit change, It may be a strong desire to achieve something great in 2017.
In the meantime, stop wishing for the results you want. Make change happen with a concrete plan.