New Year, New You. 6 Steps to Create New Habits for 2021
It's that time of year again. The time when gym memberships spike and hopeful resolutions feel more attainable than ever.
But soon January will become February, that snooze button will start looking way better than your morning workout, and UberEats will reign supreme over your paleo cookbook. This year more than ever, with gyms closed and sweatpants becoming the new work uniform, our 2021 resolutions are in danger of slipping into 2022 and beyond.
But now is the time to make sure this year is different. Resolutions can come in all shapes and sizes - some are physical, some are mental, some are emotional - but all can be accomplished with a couple helpful planning steps.
1. Make the good habits easy and the bad habits hard
Creating a new healthy habit is hard, so let's do everything we can to make it easier.
For example, let's say we are setting out to read more books and spend less time in front of screen. But when we jump in bed and set our phone alarms, the 'Gram is right there, calling our name.
To make it harder on ourselves to scroll, try getting a real alarm clock and leaving your phone charger in another room, forcing you to put physical distance between you and the screen. All of a sudden, picking up the book on your nightstand becomes the easier option.
The same can apply to any habit you want to form, or want to quit. By adjusting the physical variables around the habits, you can increase or reduce friction and make it harder or easier to accomplish your goals.
2. Remove Temptations
Will power is a myth. Contrary to popular belief, some of us are not blessed with stronger will power DNA than others. In reality, some are just better at avoiding compromising situations in the first place.
If you're trying to lose weight, don't keep ice cream in the freezer next to your frozen veggies. If you're trying to quit smoking, avoid your smoker friends. You don't need any unnecessary hurdles on the way to accomplishing your goal.
3. Pair the Good with the Bad
Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part, so don't be afraid to reward yourself with a special treat. If your goal is to journal more, head over to your favorite park with a pen and paper. Need help jumping on the treadmill? Listen to your favorite podcast while you pedal.
4. Stack Habits
If pairing the good with the bad doesn't get you all the way there, habit stacking is a great way to incorporate a new activity into your daily routine. Think about your morning routine. For me, I wake up, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, shower, make a smoothie, and start the work day. Last year, I decided to start meditating, so I wedged a 10 minute window before brushing my teeth to open up my Headspace app.
Today, I meditate almost every day. The days I skip most often? Weekends, when I don't follow the same schedule.
5. Find an accountability partner
Remember, you are not alone here. My dad and I email each other our meditation summaries every day, and check in on each other when a couple days go by where we don't receive the email.
An accountability partner is not there to shame you if you slip up, or even reward you for accomplishing your goal. They are just there for encouragement and to remind you why you set the goal in the first place.
6. Set a schedule
Using a task management system like Quatro, you can create yourself recurring tasks. Whether you're looking to start a new habit daily, weekly, or even monthly, you can create a recurring task to show up on your Top 4 on your own schedule. Then when you complete it, check it off the list and reward yourself with that dopamine hit to keep you on track for the next time.
And just like that, you've got yourself a new habit.
2020 is officially over. Let's make sure 2021 is our year.