Last Year's Habit: Breaking It Is This Year's Resolution

When you look at it, a New Year’s resolution is really nothing more than a commitment to breaking a bad habit. A vow to get in shape, eat better or meditate more often is another way of announcing your plans to stop avoiding the gym, eating junk food or skipping your daily meditation.

This clinical approach to resolution-making can be the key to resolution-keeping. Resolving to bring about massive change in your life in the course of one year is an incredible amount of pressure; simply deciding to change your behavior may add a degree of nonchalance that can lead to success.

Once you have pinpointed the behavior that is no longer serving you, there are a few steps to facilitating its demise.

  • Don’t keep it a secret. Hiding your decision to improve your health and well-being won't only protect you from the judgment of others, it will also keep you from their support and encouragement. Tapping into a network of family and friends is essential.
  • Avoid triggers. Make an effort to avoid triggers that can stimulate renewed interest in the habit you're working to break. This is as obvious as skipping out on your co-workers' cigarette break when trying to quit smoking and keeping your early mornings free of appointments and errands when establishing a daily meditation practice.
  • Respect your “bad habit.” Habits serve functions — to reduce stress, enhance socialization or to make tasks feel easier. It's difficult to give up a bad habit, especially if it has endured for a long period of time, without understanding its value and considering realistic methods for replacing it with something healthy.
  • Take up new hobbies. Giving up a bad habit can be a perfect time to take up a good one. If your habit has served as a primary method of pleasure, you will need to develop new ones, or rekindle old ones, or your life will feel like it is lacking something. New hobbies and interests will also serve as a distraction during those first days and weeks when the urge to engage in the bad habit is strong.

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