The Startling Truth About Habits, New Year’s Resolutions, and Quitting

New Year’s Resolutions. You either love or hate them. Or you begin loving them and end up hating them because it doesn’t work.

There are tons of reasons (read: excuses) why we don’t, can’t, or won’t follow through with them. Regardless of the end result, everyone begins with the best intentions – to do something to better their lives.

You want to start the new year with an organized home and office space. You’re super dedicated to this resolution. You go out and buy the inspiring drawer dividers, cute filing system, and bins that you are excited to look at every day. This is going to be great!

Fast forward to mid-January. The bins are still in the bag and the filing system is sitting on the corner of your desk. You did take out the dividers and they are on the top of your dresser just waiting to hop in the drawer.

You have made the same mistake so many of us have done. We have jumped feet first into an amazing intention, but we haven’t mentally prepared ourselves for what a habit needs to be successful.

Statistics for New Year’s Resolutions

Around 80% of people who make resolutions will fail by mid-February.³

Before it has even begun, 12% of Americans, don’t think they will succeed or follow through with their resolutions.²

Only 19% of UK residents plan on making a New Year’s resolution in 2021.⁴

In 2020, 79% of Australian’s were making the commitment to a resolution.⁵

These numbers aren’t the most motivating. Resolutions take some planning and commitment.

New Habits Take Time

Twenty-one days. Sixty-six days. Two hundred fifty-four days. What?

Depending upon each person and habit, it can take as early as twenty-one days for a new action to become a habit, with the average being sixty-six days; however, some habits can take up to 254 days to become automatic. There are many different challenges you can join and lists with various numbers of steps for how to make a habit stick. These are awesome if they give you the motivation and foundation you need to turn this change into a habit.

To break a bad habit, you must change the pattern. Once the pattern is broken, the behavior is no longer automatic.

To create a new habit, a new pattern must be formed. This needs to be repeated over and over until your brain sets it on autopilot.

There are many suggestions, ideas, and plans for creating habits that stick. What it boils down to is our brain and how it works. Once a behavior becomes a routine habit, your brain essentially puts it on autopilot so you can focus on things that require more focus.

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).

-Stephen R. Covey

Be Mentally Prepared!

Change. Is. Hard.

Before you start, ask yourself why? Why is this important to you? When solidifying this new habit or routine, remind yourself why you’re doing this. Write it down. Post it on social media. Make a voice memo. Put it on your vision board. Do whatever it takes to easily remind yourself why this is important to you.

Humans are creatures of habit. We survive on habits and routines. When was the last time you had to remind yourself to breathe? Turn the lights off when you went to bed? You often drive to or from work on “autopilot.” On the evening of your favorite television show, you make sure certain things are done prior to the start so you can fully enjoy your time.

Your morning or evening routine has become just that – a routine.

When you started, you had to think about it to make sure you got everything accomplished. At some point, you did it without thinking too much about it. Soon, you will be doing this on autopilot as well.

Set Realistic Goals

Biting off more than you can chew is not going to make you successful.

You need to start with realistic goals.

The surface of your desk hasn’t seen the light of day in who knows how long. It isn’t realistic to think you’ll have it all perfectly cleaned and organized in an hour.

It is realistic to…

  • go through the paperwork and make organized piles
  • empty one or two drawers at a time
  • clean and wipe down the top and inside of the drawers
  • figure out and label file folders in a way that will best suit your needs
  • declutter, clean, and organize one shelf today and another shelf tomorrow

It also is a realistic goal to recruit help if you need it. Maybe those bite sizes listed feel more overwhelming than manageable. Ask for help. Is your friend amazing at this? Does your daughter-in-law have a system to die for? If someone can help you set up an approach that will help you to stick with this new habit, then please ask!

Plan for Bumps in the Road

Unfortunately, there will be bumps. You’re going to have to anticipate this and plan how to navigate around it.

The more proactive you are, the better your plan will be. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to keep yourself heading in the right direction.

“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently”.

-Tony Robbins

Keep It Up!

Here are more ideas to not only keep your New Year’s resolutions but also turn them into habits.

  • Find an accountability partner.
  • Give yourself grace when you don’t keep it perfectly.
  • Reset and keep going – don’t throw in the towel.
  • Take the time so that you can be successful and create a new habit.
  • Add to your life rather than take away – use positive wording when possible

Bottom line, don’t give up!

Does any part of this sound overwhelming? Call Organized MD.  Dennise can help you to figure out and establish a manageable routine. She will be your accountability partner. She will also help you save time and be more productive. You’ve put it off long enough. Contact Organized MD today!

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!

1https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

²https://www.finder.com/new-years-resolution-statistics

³https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/new-years-resolution-janine-hubbard-1.5412777

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/12/30/new-years-resolutions-2020-and-2021

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-5-new-years-resolutions-for-2020-revealed-231157354.html

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