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Hello, folks!

Let’s resume where we left off then, shall we?

In Part 1 of our blog, we highlighted ways we could manage our resolutions more easily, how thinking near-term and not long-term benefits us for the better, and taking on the help of a buddy or someone that is able to assist you and remind you of your specific aspirations, etc.

We really hope for you to stick with your resolutions or intentions till it becomes a significant part of your daily life.

Below, you will find a lot more noteworthy points that you can add on to help improve the process.

1. Create a clear plan that is ridiculously small and easy to do

It’s easy to see how we fall into false hope syndrome. Apps promise us mindfulness in just 10 minutes. Exercise programs claim we’ll drop four kilos in 3 weeks. Our brains are lazy and if we think we’ll get big results in little time, well, we’re going to go for it.

But these don’t work. Instead, you need to slowly work towards your goal one day at a time. “This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.”

Instead of only focusing on your big resolution of ‘getting in shape’ or ‘writing a book’, ask this question: What can you do today that would get you 1% closer to your goal?

For example, you could take the stairs each morning instead of the elevator, or write 200 words of your novel when you first wake up. If you do more, great! These are simply the smallest actionable steps you can take to stick with your resolutions.

As author Srinivas Rao mentions: “You’ll make more progress by doing something for five minutes every day than doing it for three hours every month or week.”

Put a sticky note on your shoes that says, ‘take the stairs’, or leave your novel document open on your laptop at the end of the day so it’s the first thing you see tomorrow.

2. Build on the good habits and behaviors you already have

It’s much easier to build off of existing habits than it is to start new ones.

For example, if you already go out for a brisk walk three times a week then add on 10 more minutes each day. This way, your ‘Go for a walk’ habit you’ve built now becomes the cue for the new ‘walk 10 more minutes’ habit. This can work for anything you currently do.

If your goal is to read more, then instead of reading for 10 minutes before bed, say you’ll read for 20 or 30. If your goal is to eat healthier, say you’ll cook at home five nights a week instead of three.

Or, if you’re looking at starting something completely new, try habit stacking. This is where you build a new habit off of a current one. A basic formula is:

After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]

For example: After I brush my teeth [CURRENT HABIT] I will meditate for 10 minutes [NEW HABIT].

Habit stacking takes advantage of the things you already do on a daily basis to help you build new habits and stick with your New Year’s resolutions.

3. Instead of changing your behavior, change your story

Habits and resolutions are essentially about changing the kind of person you are.

We all have a story about what kind of person we are and what’s important to us. We say, ‘I’m the kind of person who tries new things’, or ‘I don’t smoke’. And while these stories seem set in stone, they aren’t.

Psychology professor Timothy Wilson describes how we can use these stories to change behavior long-term. One technique is called ‘story-editing’.

Here’s how it works:

Start by writing out your existing ‘story’ as honestly as possible. This could be simply talking about who you are or a list of statements like ‘I am the kind of person who does X, Y, and Z.’

Pay special attention to anything in that story that goes against the new behaviors you want to build. For example, if you’re the kind of person who has late-night snacks, this goes against your goal of being healthier.

Now rewrite the story. Use the same format, except this time, say what you want your story to be. Tell the story of someone who has made the behavior changes you want to see. For example, ‘I’m the kind of person who wakes up early to work on my novel.’

4. Make sure your routine allows the right space and time for your resolutions

Sometimes sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is less about what they are and more about when you do them.

If your current routine and schedule give you no time for anything new, how can you be expected to keep up with your resolutions?

Too many of us ignore the natural highs and lows of energy we go through each day. Planning your resolutions without taking this into account means that you’ll most likely hit a wall.

First, try and set a schedule for when you’ll work on your resolutions.

If your New Year’s resolution requires dedicated time (like going to the gym), put it in your calendar. In the same way you might block your work schedule, adding in dedicated time for your resolutions makes them a priority.

5. Set up a system to reward and remind you of why you’re doing this

It’s easy to stay motivated in the early days of the year. But, after an especially hard gym session or in the dark hours of the morning when you’re staring at a blank screen, it can be difficult to remember why this matters to you.

While setting the right resolutions/intentions is the best way to counter these feelings, you’ll still face moments where you’ve lost motivation. In these cases, it’s good to set up a system of rewards and reminders to keep you going.

Learn from your mistakes. It sucks to miss a goal. But within that is a chance to evaluate what worked and what didn’t while things were going well. Was the issue in your plan? Expectations? The goal itself? Knowing this will help you with your future resolutions.

Work on your self-talk. You’re not a ‘failure’ if you relapse into old habits, miss a goal, or give up on your resolution. The language you use when you think about your resolution can change how successful you are in the future. Try to reframe why you missed your goal into something positive. What did you learn? What problems got in your way that you can solve next time?

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Keeping New Year’s resolutions sure can be difficult.

But, with the littlest of steps that we take in progressing with these habits, there can definitely be a strong impact that will help in molding us as we go along.

Wishing you all the very best for 2022 and beyond

Team Evolved

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