Anyone can be successful in keeping New Year’s resolutions when the existing habits are understood. Identifying the three components of the habit is the first step toward remarkable success. Replacement of the old habit ensures that new behaviors are adopted. The old habit will fade into the past. By Malminder Gill, published online by Hypnosis In London blog on 24th December 2014.
A New Year provides a new beginning to revise habits that are unproductive, expensive or destructive. The annual ritual of writing resolutions is the accepted practice of addressing behaviors that have interfered with some aspect of life. Individuals make resolutions when they recognize the need for specific changes that might be simple or revolutionary, and yet, few succeed in the quest. Why? Before the start of February, most resolutions are a source of disappointment because the optimist stated “what” must be done but never defined “how” it was going to implement the desired result.
Too many assumptions are made about the components of a habit. Once formed, the habit has three distinct components: the cue, the routine and the reward. Changing the habit requires dissecting the existing practice, which includes a pattern of behavior. Is the desire for sweets in the afternoon really about the sugar, or is the actual reward a time to socialize with others? Anyone who wants to lower their caloric intake could devise a new way to socialize without a trip to the vending machine.
· Cue – a certain time of day, a place, an emotional state or a ritualized behavior
· Routine – the behavior that makes up the habit
· Reward – the motivation for the routine, such as hunger, exhaustion, laziness
For each habit, these three components can be defined with some thought and experimentation. Pause and examine the situation prior to determining the ways in which the existing pattern must change. Start with small actions that are easily implemented. Time is required to replace daily activities that have been followed for long periods of time. Patience is an important factor when leaving old rituals behind in pursuit of new behaviors.
Millions of people will join a gym in January and go twice before the year ends. Most adults need more exercise, but daily routines can be modified to be more active throughout the entire day. Instead of adding another time-consuming obligation in the form of a gym membership, consider parking far away from stores, office buildings and other venues. Walk up the stairs instead of riding the elevator. Go for a walk at lunch instead of sitting around after eating. Additional activity throughout the day prevents calories from being converted into fat. The result is a slimmer you next December.
Financial management is another area where individuals resolve to remain organized and control funds more carefully throughout the year. Disorganized files should be redesigned to encourage consistent maintenance of the receipts from shopping, bill paying and banking activities. Personal organization begins with understanding the desired outcome. Simple changes now can reduce the frustration encountered when examining the books each month. Start this quest in January to be certain that all 12 months of the year are organized perfectly.
Improving the quality of one’s daily diet does not begin with a trip to the refrigerator. Lasting change occurs when healthy foods are purchased at the grocery store. Careful planning allows the entire family to consume foods that are easy to digest and more satisfying than processed snacks and prepared meals. A bag of cookies will be eaten if it is present in the pantry. Purchases should be modified to provide low-calorie foods that provide similar rewards. Fruits satisfy the need for sweet tastes and more fiber. Nuts and crunchy vegetables might replace chips and crackers.
Habits can be changed when replaced with activities that correct old routines. Careful consideration about the reward attached to each habit will reveal the reasons behind each old habit. Partnering with somebody else is another way of improving health, finances and time management in the New Year through transforming old habits into new ones. Consistent emphasis on the new habit will increase the likelihood of success throughout the New Year.
Malminder is a Clinical Hypnotherapist in London’s Harley Street, helping people to overcome and manage personal challenges. Read more about Malminder’s London Hypnotherapy Practice and how she can help you here.
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