Did you know that approximately 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions have dropped them by the second week of February? Studies of more than 800 million user-logged activities in 2019 predicted that the day most people likely gave up on their New Year’s Resolution in 2020 was January 19. Did you make any resolutions? Did you give up yet? If you did, obviously you are not alone in your failure.
If you didn’t give up yet, congratulations! Keep it up! You are creating a habit. When you create a habit, you are more likely to succeed in achieving a goal. Long term success is based on consistent, persistent habitual behavior. Will Smith says, “Self-discipline is the center of all material success. You cannot win the war against the world if you cannot win the war against your own mind.”
Even if you are a “quitter” right now, you can change your future outcome by making choices to help yourself. Make it easy to make the right choice. Set yourself up for success. If you want to drink more water. Make water more available to you. Keep several bottles in sight. If you want to eat healthy, stop buying food that isn’t healthy! Don’t bring it into your house! You are less likely to indulge in empty snacks and sugary treats if you have to physically go out to get them. Make the wrong choice difficult. If you want to exercise more, look for ways to do it. Park in the outer areas of the parking lot when you shop so you will walk more. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Little actions add up. You create habits.
When you create habits, you don’t need to rely on willpower to do things. You do what you do because its who you are. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” When you achieve excellence, you are competent and confident in your abilities. In order to achieve success or excellence, it is necessary to do an action repeatedly to create a habit.
Whether good or bad, habits shape your life. Habits are actions that you do without conscious thought. You might not even be aware that you are engaged in a bad habit like nail-biting, until you notice your hand in your mouth. Becoming aware of the triggers that lead to the bad habit can be very beneficial. A bad habit can be a coping mechanism that you created to get through difficult emotions.
In order to create good habits, recognize that habits are created in your subconscious mind by consciously repeating actions. Once you’ve done something over and over it becomes a habit. Science tells us that it takes an average of 66 days to create a lasting habit. That takes effort. No wonder so many of us give up on day 19!
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you must take the necessary steps. It’s not about resolving to do it. It’s about actually doing it. You must act in order to get results. And you must commit to taking action consistently and persistently. Identify what you need or want to do and schedule it into your day so it becomes a habit. Focus on what you really want. Think about why you want it. You are creating your life with your thoughts. Don’t give up on yourself. Quitting is a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. Quit it!