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9 Steps To New Year's Resolutions That Last Longer Than New Year's Day

Stashed in: #lifehacks, Practice, Calvin and Hobbes!, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Kaizen, Becoming, Willpower!, Life Automation, Context, @richardwiseman, New Year's Day

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Making something habitual means you don’t have to exert willpower:

You spend 40% of every day on autopilot, just performing habits and it’s not exhausting at all.

Here’s Roy again:

The more you follow a routine, plan in advance, or operate on the basis of habit, the less moment-to-moment strain there is, and the less demand for willpower.

Manipulate your environment to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard:

You can resist bad habits by avoiding the triggers that make you want to do them. Context is key.

Change your environment so you don’t have to exert self-control. Throw out the donuts. Hide the booze. This has been shown to be very powerful.

Via Habit:

“Whether we’re talking about college students or people in the community, 45% of the behaviors participants listed in their diaries tended to be repeated in the same location almost every day.

If you can make good habits take 20 seconds less time to perform and bad habits 20 seconds longer, you’ll likely see big changes in your behavior.

Adding things to your environment can be a big help too: Reminders to do the right thing (like signs or even text messages) work.

If you fall off the wagon, get back on it:

In Richard Wiseman’s study of people who achieved their goals he realized we should:

Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.

So you say you’re not going to eat cookies. Then you accidentally eat a cookie. That’s not when the diet is blown.

The diet is blown when you eat the one cookie and say “So much for that resolution” — and then devour the rest of the bag.

Don’t get discouraged.

There are so many tools to help you. (“If-then” scenarios are one of the most powerful tools for resisting triggers. Commitment Devices work too.)

Overall, use baby steps, focus on consistency above all else and reward yourself for “small wins“.

Eric's article has MANY links but it is worth a deep dive:

I make my resolutions based on what I'm already doing well that I want to keep doing, instead of what I want to stop doing.  Success rate 100%.

The easiest way to get rid of bad habits is to let them die of neglect.

So basically you resolve to keep doing what you're already doing?

Well, at least that has momentum.

Yes, I keep doing more of what's working for me and exploring what adds positive value to my ongoing life, mostly in a day to day, incremental way ... I then tend to neglect any interim bad stuff that shows up because I got other things going on... this prevents petty indulgences from getting a foothold and then defining me in ways I don't choose to indulge.  

For example, health and vitality for me is an absolute baseline given that I cultivate, so I eat better day to day than most.  It doesn't mean I don't indulge in crap food from time to time, especially seasonally and right now is probably my nadir, but these instances are fewer and farther between as time goes on... and now when I do eat crap food it's because somebody makes it for me out of a loving gesture (obviously a sentimental one and not nutritional) and because I'm inclined to be gracious to their hospitality. 

Also why I never became addicted to recreational or pharmacological drug use... they might be enjoyable and even necessary short-term, but they're just not worth it as a long run indulgence.

You never became addicted because your logic circuit can override your addict circuit. :)

 I like that you eat crap food as a loving gesture.

I don't like that people make crap food out of love.

Some people just don't know any better about food issues and/or have an emotional need to connect to comforting traditions learned from childhood and place-based upbringing... hard to inform, convince and persuade successfully against those constructs, especially when people live in a setting with limited to no healthier options or much greater expense to explore and embrace them.

As to the rest of us, as people that do know better but still make and/or eat crap food, well, when I was single I was a total dick about not crossing those lines and would abstain from crap to the point that people said I had an eating disorder... and that was fine with me.  Now I'm married and have a baby daughter, who (doesn't succumb to social pressures and) eats better than I do, so I occasionally agree to take one for the team... meaning in-law relations and etc.

Yeah, I'll probably lose a few extra months and maybe a year until I've determined I've satisfied my max quota of concessionary eating to in-law dinners and socially gracious behaviors... so I'll likely only reach my early to mid 100's, but that's an ok trade-off for now.

Early to mid 100's sounds excellent, Rob.

It's cool that you take one for the team, at least until more people elevate their eating level.

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