Have you tried making New Year’s resolutions but never stick to them? Don’t worry because you’re not alone, apparently only 8% of people stick to their resolution for the entire year.
I personally have had the same new years resolution for about five years now, to play the acoustic guitar, but guess what?……by about March each year it slips away.
So this year I’m going to try another approach, create a ritual instead.
So every day at around 7 pm after work I will pick up the guitar and play/ learn a few notes, even if its just 5-10 minutes. This way I will practice this daily ritual at the same time each day to turn it into a habit.
Instead of making and breaking that same new year’s resolution again in 2018, how about trying another way, by creating life-long rituals. Instead of focusing on self-discipline to give up or deny things in your life, try adopting new positive rituals as means of change.
You’ve probably heard about how long it takes to form a habit versus how long it takes to break it. I am going to be thinking about the improvements (and changes) I want to make to my life in 2018 as habit-forming activities. If it’s good enough for some of the worlds top athletes, it’s good enough for me. By creating a routine around exactly when I’ll do something, just as athletes do with their training sessions and meal times, it blends seamlessly into your life and becomes something you do on autopilot. If you have to dedicate willpower each and every day to doing something, eventually you’ll fall off the wagon, which is what happens to so many of us by the second week of January. Think of it like brushing your teeth. You have the same routine morning and night – your ‘resolutions’ for 2018 should be the same!
Here are some of my top tips to make sure these new rituals stick!
- Make the behaviour precise – e.g. learning to play the chord C,D,G. That way, you know that when you sit down to your new ritual, you know exactly what you’ll be doing and working towards.
- Set specific times each day that are realistic – e.g. at 7 pm each and every day, after dinner every night, as soon as you wake up.
- Make sure these rituals are deeply aligned with your values or interests – don’t just say you want to take up running because you have read about the health benefits. Find an activity you actually enjoy to get those same benefits. If an activity is pleasurable, you’re more likely to stick with it.
- Introduce no more than one (or two) rituals at a time – keep it super simple and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Too many changes and you’ll feel overwhelmed.
- Try making your ritual into a habit before you introduce any new ones.
What rituals would make you happier in 2018?
What would you like to introduce to your life?
It could be meditating every morning for 10 minutes, exercising three times a week, going out to nice dinner once a fortnight, creating time to read a book your for an hour every other day, eating away from the computer at work, and so on. It doesn’t have to be the same old, ‘lose 10kg’ or ‘give up sugar’. I’ll let you know how I go with the acoustic guitar!