Creating New Habits vs Making a Resolution

Sherri Dickie | Vector Marketing

The calendar turns, a new year begins, and most of us put some attention to thinking and dreaming about what we’d like this new year to be.

It’s customary for many to make resolutions, and while I don’t believe that people go into them at the outset, thinking they’ll fail, many do.

Whether you’ve decided you want to be more present, and detach yourself from your phone when you’re with friends and family; workout consistently; study in advance, so you’re not cramming and stressing the night before tests or assignments are due; or eat healthier- we need more than a resolution. What we need is a new habit.

If you’re looking to up your chances of success even further with that new habit, you need to know your ‘why.’ What’s behind this new goal you have for yourself?  As my friend Jon Vroman says, “Once your why is clear, your how grows legs.”  It’s much easier to commit to something when your why is at the forefront. It brings the power of focus.

I’ve learned from John Maxwell that you need to read the fine print! What he means is that your new journey will probably take longer than you hoped, the obstacles will be more numerous than you believed, and the price will be higher than you anticipated. That’s why it is so critical that you have a really strong ‘why’.  Otherwise, it’s really easy to give up on that resolution, dream, goal, whatever you may choose to call it. Envision the day of glory, but remember, the journey is what gets you there.

The best way I’ve found to make a new goal a reality, is by creating a new habit. After researching what many experts report on habit creation, I found something that was very helpful for me. Habits take a little while to form, some say 21 days, some say 60 days or longer, but what I’ve learned, is that there are three phases to successfully navigate in order to create a new habit:

  1. The Honeymoon Phase
  2. The Fight-Thru
  3. Second Nature

The ‘honeymoon phase’ is maybe what you’re in right now. It’s the first of the year, you’re excited to make a change, and you’ve made a little bit of progress.

However, after a few days in, or perhaps after a week or so, you enter that ‘fight-thru’ stage.  You’re tired, or your schedule makes it harder to commit to your plan, or your why is fading; and you debate whether or not you should continue. It takes some mental toughness to fight thru and keep moving forward. This is such a key phase, if you can be aware that it will come, and you’re going to need to push through it; you’ll get to the third and final stage, ‘second nature.’

This is when you’ve created that habit. You can’t imagine not starting your day with that green smoothie, or saving 10% of your paycheck from your part-time job , or putting your phone away when you’re with your boyfriend or girlfriend, because you’ve now created a habit. Just like you can’t imagine not brushing your teeth in the morning.

So, remember that inspiration has an expiry date, commit to something. I’d love to hear all about the new habits you’re creating to make 2017 your best year yet!

This article was written by Vector Marketing Canada National Recruiting Manager, Sherri Dickie. Vector Marketing is a DECA National Advisory Board partner and Corporate Social Media Correspondent. You can follow Vector Marketing on Twitter @VectorMarketing.

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources, Leadership