How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

The secret to success….segmenting (read the full post here)

How to break (or start) any bad habit in three weeks, max

Dislaimer: If you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or if you are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, then you may find this advice incomplete for your needs. It’s my moral obligation to encourage you to get professional help for these things.

Okay, we’ve all read the reports from articles like “Psychology today” that tell us it takes exactly 21 days to form a new habit. But the truth is, very few people actually do anything for 21 days perfectly. So maybe you want to get in the habit of not biting your finger nails. Well, that is a poor habit to try this with, because that deals with not doing something moment by moment. Someone who bites their nails, or curses, or interrupts, will have to monitor their behavior moment by moment, and it may be very hard to track.  So this exercise I am going to give you must be applied to a habit that is trackable on a daily basis….and not on something that you can’t track unless you monitor it ALL Day.

Quick note: smoking is an addiction. My father hyperventilated when he tried to quit cold turkey and they called an ambulance. My husband cried in  a restaurant after going all day without a cigarette (I said I wouldn’t marry him unless he quit smoking). And I have personally witnessed loved ones act like living brain donors when they didn’t taper off cigarettes slowly. Please treat smoking like the physical addiction that it is. You can be treated medically to quit smoking.

But now, let’s talk about what this exercise will work on. If you

  • Want to start an exercise routine that you do each day
  • Want to get in the habit of journaling every day
  • Want to practice learning a foreign language every day
  • Want to learn how to master playing a musical instruments

than these are goals that you can do every day.  Just make sure you choose a goal that is:

a definite, specific goal:

Something that is measurable, not vague

an actual daily goal:

So, again, getting slim by the end of this year is not a measurable, daily goal

an achievable goal:

something that you can definitely achieve on each of these 21 days. If you make the goal too difficult, then you will most certainly not finish the 3 week time period; you’ll just…quit 😦

It’s more important to set a goal that you know you will reach. For example, with nail biting, set a goal of not biting your nails between 12 and 1 oclock each day (that’s a trackable daily goal), and then ask your friends to monitor your beahavior during your lunch break (believe me, other people will love being asked to hold you accountable for something). After 21 days, you should find that you are no longer biting your nails during lunch time. Then, go for supper time the next 21 day period. You don’t want to give yourself too many habits to form or break during each 21 day period.

Just in case you don’t know, 21 days is that length of time which has been medically proven to cause a habit to “stick”. In other words if you can do or not do something for 3 weeks straight, then you can develop or break any habit–in theory. The reality though, is, with a bad habit, you may need to reinforce the 21 day exercise after several months. That’s because, it’s easier to form a habit than to delete a long held habit

The Rock Solid New Year’s Resolution

Here’s the only New Year’s resolution I have ever seen work, and I want to share it with  you….resolve to give yourself ONE FULL MONTH to come up with systems that actually work.

You don’t want to have a New Year filled with failure. But come on reader, don’t  you know, you set yourself up for that every single year? New Year’s resolutions are just things that you resolve to do in the New Year. They aren’t things you resolve to do perfectly every time. I wrote about this extensively in last year’s article.

This year, set yourself up for success. Give yourself ONE FULL YEAR to develop systems that work. Determine what your year end goal is, and then take one month (January) to break those year end goals down into smaller goals.

Wednesday, read my article on How To Start Your New Year right.

Is this year going to be your best year?

Well, here it is, the end of January, and many of you responded to my posts on New Year’s Resolutions.

We discussed the importance of remembering that a New year’s resolution is just something that you resolve to do within a year.

So hopefully, you are still hanging in there with your goal.

But now, today, I want to talk about something bigger and deeper.

Deeper than meeting several goals.

And more profound then establishing a couple good habits.

Today, I would like to get your focus on to making this your best year ever.

Reader, what would it take to make this your best year ever?

Continue reading

How to Start a New Habit

Establishing a new habit

A lot of people have a new year’s resolution of “always” and “never”

“I’ll never smoke” “I’ll always exercise each morning”. These are called habits, but no one, absolutely no one, gets there over night (unless they have a miracle deliverance, or they suffer through, or they have a heavenly download of yearlong motivation  and strength that never wanes).

But habits aren’t made or broken that way.  If you are stuck in the rut of “always” and “never”, then your verbage needs to change to:

“Begin”  and “taper off”

How to start a new habit

       Decide what you can do.

If you know, for example, that you aren’t going to, without fail, do your goal consistently, then don’t set it. That’s where everyone misses it. They set these impossible goals, miss one day at it, and quit all together. No, that’s setting yourself up for failure. Instead, start with a goal that  you know FOR SURE you will do daily, or weekly, or whatever time slot is reasonable. So if you know that you want to  run every day, then run every day. And make it your goal to run every day. That’s it. That’s your goal. If you just start with the goal of running every day, you can’t lose. And trust yourself. Tell yourself, “You only have to do some running every day”. As in, out  the door and to your car. And then Back in. Or, just to the kitchen and back to bed. That’s it. You just ran. Now. Can  you commit to just running, any amount, every single day? Sure you can. And I bet you know what I’m going to suggest next. Yup[, that’s right. Each day you’ll go a bit further.  One guy named Zig Zigler made it his goal to lose a hundred pounds and he did by running to the mailbox each day. That was his only goal. I’m sure you know where  that achievable goal got him. That’s right. It got him running every day. And he didn’t get there by saying “this is lame, any loser could do this”. No, he got there by encouraging himself. “Hurray, it’s January 15th and I’m still running every day”.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Zig Ziglar ended up running a mile a day, and becoming  a self-improvement coach.

So start with what you know for sure you can do

Build on it. Each day, try to do a bit more, but don’t make the “bit more” your new goal. Remember, you goal is just to do some of this each day.

Train yourself to encourage yourself. When you miss a day, (and don’t think it can’t happen) DON”T QUIT. Remember what a new year’s resolution is. It’s something you resolve to accomplish in the new year, not something you have to do each day. Your New Year’s resolution should be to establish a consistent (not perfect)  life habit of running. Your goal to reach that is to most days, run some.

Remember, you have all  of  this year to establish the habit

So go easy on yourself.

Looking to get more motivational tips to spring you through the New Year? My email series “Going the distance” is just what you need to breathe fresh life into your workout routine or any goal. Pitch-free. Spam free. Just hi-fives in your inbox. Claim it here: