January 1st has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Everybody we know has set New Year’s resolutions for the year in hopes that the upcoming year in hopes to develop better habits in 2020. Who knows, maybe they have already given up on their resolutions – or even worse, maybe you have already given up on your resolutions.
Often times, we go into the new year with the thought process of “this is going to be the year that I finally develop better habits – habits that are going to change my life.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
There is only one problem when it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions and developing better habits. Very few of us who set these resolutions with the hope to see a different result than what they saw the year before are actually willing to do to the work to make these resolutions and habits a reality.
We hope that just because a new year has come we are just going to be able to wake up one day and have magically developed better habits overnight. We are going to wake up earlier and immediately become more productive. We are going to roll right out of bed, head to the gym, and have the best workout of our life. We are going to eat only healthy food and the temptation of fast food and junk food is magically going to disappear.
Unfortunately, this is never going to be a reality. It’s not easy to wake up early in the morning. You aren’t always going to be productive when you do. There are going to be times where you are going to hit the snooze button so many times that you no longer have time to get a workout in. And let’s face it, fast food and junk food are probably never going to disappear.
Nothing that we want in life is going to be immediate. As badly as you want it to be, you are going to have to work towards your goals, you are going to experience setbacks, and you are going to have to develop better habits so that when you do experience setbacks, you will have the strength and motivation to get right back up again.
As somebody who is constantly trying to develop better habits and make strides towards achieving their goals, I want to share with you some of the steps that I am trying to implement into my life on a daily basis that have helped me to develop better habits.
Set goals – both short-term and long-term goals.
Goal setting is important to any and all success. It’s important to have big goals that you want to achieve, but it’s equally as important to have small goals that you want to achieve – goals that will align with the larger goals that you want to accomplish.
Say for example that you have a goal of losing 20 pounds this new year. It’s a big goal to have, and at first, it can seem like a daunting and distant goal. Sometimes, when you look at a large number such as losing 20 pounds, it can be demotivating because you have so far to go.
This is where having smaller goals is beneficial. Being there are 52 weeks in a year and you have a goal of losing 20 pounds in a year, that’s only having to lose one pound every two and a half weeks. All of a sudden that seems a little more doable and realistic, doesn’t it? Losing one pound every two and a half weeks isn’t as daunting, but it is also aligning with the primary goal that you have for yourself.
Stay as organized as possible.
To have a clear and focused mind, you need to have a clear and organized environment. The more physical items you have around you, the more potential there is that your mind will be distracted by all of the clutter.
I am a person of habit. I like having all of my belongings in the same area so that when I leave my house or just need access to something, I generally know where it’s going to be. Being organized can help to save a lot of time, and when you are trying to achieve your goals, time is of the essence.
Set reminders that keep you focused and on track.
One thing that I really like to do that has helped me to focus on my goals and to stay on track, is to place reminders all around me of what my goals are. I keep a list of my goals taped to my bathroom mirror, a list hanging from my computer screen at work, and a list of my goals in my wallet so that every time I go to use my wallet, they are there and I am reminded of them.
I also keep a motivational background on my phone. It is the quote from Nelson Mandela that goes “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
It’s a pretty easy concept to grasp. The more you make your goals known, the more motivated you are going to be to work towards them. Not only that, but if you place constant reminders around yourself, you are going to work towards those goals subconsciously.
Create a routine and a ritual.
Maybe your routine is waking up early, or maybe it’s getting all of your work done at night. Whatever your ritual is, whatever time of day it may be at, just make sure that you follow it as close as possible.
It takes two months before a habit becomes automatic. This means that for the next two months, you are going to experience days where you would rather do something other than following your goals. But as best as you can, fight through the temptation. Once you develop a habit – and one that is going to benefit you – it is going to become incredibly difficult to break that habit.
A year and a half ago, I set out to start a daily blog. My goal was to write about my thoughts for 365 straight days. Well, here I am nearly 600 days later and still going strong. Why? Because once I developed a habit of blogging and saw how it led to positive changes in my life, it became a part of me. Now, a day doesn’t feel complete if I don’t write. That’s just the power of creating routines and rituals.
Commit to your growth and well-being.
I’m not one to be too pessimistic, but let’s face it, the world around us loves headlines. This means that there is going to be a lot of bad news in the media. Why? Because for some odd reason, bad news sells more headlines than good news does.
Look, if you want to watch TV or read the newspaper every morning, by all means, do what you want to do. The only thing that I would caution against, is consuming news that focuses solely on the negatives in the world around us. Make sure that what you are consuming aligns with the type of individual that you want to become.
Surround yourself with who you want to most resemble.
Jim Rohn once said that “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” In case you don’t know who Jim Rogn was, he was one of the most influential American entrepreneurs to ever live. He was also one of the richest with an estimated net worth of $500 million.
I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t become as successful as he was simply by spending the majority of his time around those who didn’t resemble similar habits and beliefs as he did. And neither should you!
If you want to develop better habits in 2020, then start spending your time around those who inspire you the most. Find friends who have similar goals as you, who care about their personal well-being, who follow healthy habits, and those who make good choices in life.
After all, you become the average of those who you spend the most time around.
Pick yourself up when you experience failure.
It’s never going to be easy to achieve your goals and desires, especially if they are ones that are meaningful. But nothing worth having in life ever comes easy, and nothing that comes easy in life is ever worth having.
When it comes to improving on the person that you are trying to become, you are going to make many mistakes along the way. There are going to be days where you forget about your habits until you are lying in bed ready to go to sleep. There are going to be days where you are going to slip up on your diet and indulge in some delicious treats. And there are going to be days where you feel you are taking a step backwards and not making any progress towards your goals.
These days don’t make you a failure, nor do they define the type of person that you are. Just don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. Instead, learn from your mistakes and do your best to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes over and over again. Nobody is perfect, so quit trying to be. Instead, be the best that you can be and love yourself for the person you already are.
Forgive yourself and reward yourself.
I know that it’s a lot easier said than done, but whatever has happened in the past has already happened. Forgive yourself and move on. Don’t let your past steal any more of your present than it already has. Instead, learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Not only that, but also learn to reward yourself for all of your progress.
The more you learn to reward yourself for your progress, the more positive behaviors you are reinforcing. Imagine if you worked long and tirelessly without any reward, what would be the point working? Whether it’s a paycheck, something you have been saving for, or even a little more self-recognition, reward yourself for your hard work because it’s only going to motivate you to continue to work harder.
Everybody has the same exact 24 hours in a day. Those who achieve greater amounts of success and happiness are the ones who develop better habits and allow those habits to help shape them into the individuals that they want to become.
Take control of your life, focus on the goals that you want to achieve for yourself, and develop better habits that will help you to achieve those goals. That is how you are going to make every year your year, back to back, for life, and for your whole career.