Work from your home? Have you made a list of 2012 New Year Resolutions? Good, now throw them out.
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Want to know when Fitness Clubs have their busiest month, make most of their money, and sign up the most new members? Of course its January. Fortunately for the Fitness clubs and unfortunately for new members, a large percentage of new sign ups stop going to the gym by February, but keep on paying for the privilege. This is a New Year Resolution in action.
Almost everyone makes New Year Resolutions, and almost everyone quickly forgets, stops, cheats on, or breaks their resolutions faster than you can say February.
Real change starts and ends with habits, not resolutions.
Habit change is an ongoing continuous process that crosses days, weeks, months, and years, with no start and no end. Especially if you work from your home. You are a work in progress. Instant change does not happen when the calendar rolls over. Don’t waste your time with the false promise of New Years Resolutions.
If you are the same person on January 1st as you were on December 31st. How can you create lasting change?
Really, what changes when the calendar rolls over? So if you are the same person in the new year, how can can you create lasting change? How can you create the life that you want every day, all year-long, and not have to wait for some artificial milestone?
The answer is habit change and not resolutions.
Why habit change and not New Year Resolutions?
Habit change is lasting change. Habits are acquired through deliberate and ongoing determined practice. New Year Resolutions are temporal and not sticky without extreme self-discipline, which most people lack.
Quitting smoking is another great example. Quit smoking aids probably sell briskly along with Fitness Cub memberships every January, but most people make several attempts before actually quitting. They successfully quit when they replace smoking with something different, and hopefully better.
There are three types of habits.
1) Good habits – eating right, exercising, saving money, and education for example.
No change is required for good habits, just ongoing maintenance and continuity.
2) Bad habits – smoking, insufficient sleep, complaining, and laziness for example.
Change is required and desired. These habits need to be replaced.
3) New habits – any missing good habits.
New habits are used to replace bad habits.
So how do you get started?
You can start today. You can follow the six step process to ongoing habit change that works.
Step One Review your habits.
Go to a quiet place with a pen and paper, or electronic device, and write down all of the habits you currently follow and all of the habits you want to follow. Take your time and repeat the process as many times as required. If you need help, ask a trusted family member or friend who knows you well to review your list or make suggestions.
Cover all areas of your life, for example financial, health, learning, and relationships.
Step Two – Categorize and organize your habits.
Start with a new blank page or spreadsheet and create three columns titled “Good Habits”, “Bad Habits”, and “New Habits”. Take your list of habits from step one and move each of them into the column that best applies to you.
Once the habits are classified as “Good Habits”, “Bad Habits”, and “New Habits”, rank the habits in each column based on how hard you think they will be to change starting from the easiest and continuing through to the hardest.
For example, in a list of ten New habits, flossing your teeth daily is probably a one and running a marathon is probably a ten.
Step Three – Select one Bad habit and one New habit.
Review your list of Bad habits and pick the easiest, simplest, smallest habit from the Bad habit list. Then review your New habit list and pick the easiest, simplest, smallest habit from the new habit list.
Circle or highlight these two habits on the spreadsheet. These are you candidate habits for change.
Step Four – Replace the bad habit with the new habit.
You want to build new success on the pillars or earlier success. Time to switch habits and replace your Bad habit with a New habit.
Note: habit change is most successful if you work on replacing one habit at a time, then repeating with a new pair after successfully adopting the new habit.
In a paper or electronic calendar, mark tomorrow with the name of the New Habit and the name of the Bad habit with an arrow from the Bad habit to the New habit. Count six weeks out from tomorrow and write in only the New habit.
Beginning tomorrow, every day for six weeks, focus your efforts on not doing the Bad Habit and doing the New habit. Write your results in the calendar every day.
Step Five – Repeat every six weeks until all bad habits have been replaced with good habits.
Successful habit change takes about six weeks. One you have successfully completed your first habit pair and replaced a Bad habit with a New habit, repeat Step Three and Step Four until all habit pairs have been completed.
Step Six – Make an updated list of good, bad, and new habits.
If you have a major life change or you run out of bad or new habits, revisit and update your habit list. The key is to continually work on replacing Bad habits with New habits.
Make every day of the year New Year Day and constantly improve the quality of your life with the six step process.