• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

The Power of Habits: How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

What exactly is a habit? It’s defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” I think we all know that habits can sometimes be hard to give. But, what about starting one? How hard is that?

Forming new habits can be exceptionally tricky because with certain things, you are literally rewiring your brain. Not only do they require consistent effort and motivation, but to maintain a new habit, you sometimes have to break an old one.

“Be more organized,” Emma, a Sinclair art student, said when asked what her New Year’s resolution is for this year. But how would you stay more organized? Sometimes this could be a one day task that requires you to go through your closet and get rid of items that no longer fit you or that you haven’t worn. But sometimes it means a daily habit or writing down your tasks in a planner. 

One of the biggest tips when it comes to sticking with a new habit or New Year’s resolution, is to break it down into small manageable steps. One of my favorite books is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. While he discusses many helpful things in his book, one of my favorite pieces was the idea of “situational” habits.

Photo Credit: Penguin Random House

For me, an example is my hand lotion. Traditionally, in the winter my hands start to really dry out. I wanted to get ahead of it this year by putting on lotion every night. I went to the store and picked out a new fragrance. I was all excited to put my new habit into place. I put the lotion in the bathroom of my medicine cabinet, a place where I put all of my other lotions. I didn’t touch it at all the first week. I quite literally forgot it existed. 

The second week I put the lotion on my bedside table. Every night before I went to bed I saw the lotion and would be reminded to apply it. Think of something you want to start doing in your life, and then try to imagine a way that you can remind yourself about it every day. Put your chapstick by your toothbrush. If you want to quit drinking coffee, put the coffee maker somewhere where it’s more difficult to get to. 

Mason, a Sinclair business student, said that he wanted to start “dressing more professionally this year.” One of the ways that he sets himself up for success is, “Every night I pick out my clothes for the next day. Everything. This includes my socks and shoes. I’ve found that I have the capacity to make those decisions easier later at night rather than in the morning before I’ve had my coffee.” 

Resolutions can range from the most serious of things to the seemingly unimportant such as flossing your teeth everyday. Photo Credit: Canva

In “Atomic Habits” Clear elaborates on his four principles of making a habit. The first is the cue, or making it obvious. The second is craving, making the habit attractive. The third is response, make it easy. And the fourth is reward, make the habit satisfying.

It’s so interesting all of the different habits people have, whether they be considered “good” or “bad.” What were some of your New Year’s resolutions? Have you been able to stick to them? If not, just remember that every day is a good day to start a new self-improvement.

Jaime Herzog, Creative Director

(Featured Image from Canva)