Ditch the Resolutions and Focus on Good Habits This Year
Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. —James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Now that we’re settling in to the new year, many of us are already ditching our thoughtfully-considered New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve missed a day of exercise here and there, or gobbled down a piece of holiday cheesecake you found fermenting in the back of the fridge.
Well I’m here to tell you that kicking resolutions to the curb is absolutely fine. Go ahead! Free yourself from the angst…on one very important condition…
You replace those resolutions with good daily habits. Habit formation, unlike lofty goals or resolutions, slowly, but surely, retrains our brains, paving the path to success.
We set resolutions year after year, in fervent protest to all the things gone awry in the previous year. But, unfortunately, statistically speaking, resolutions fail. Our seemingly unobstructed vision for life-improving changes becomes clouded with time, and we give up. We lose sight of what we want to accomplish because we never acknowledged or put into place the good habits it takes to get there.
I’m not overly ecstatic about self-help books, but it’s worth your time to take a look at Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has a ton of helpful material about implementing good habits—in small, smart, and reasonable ways—to achieve results.
Clear found his way back from a life-threatening accident by integrating tiny, intentional habits into his life. He didn’t say, “Well in a month, I’ll be the athlete I used to be.” Instead, he took each moment at a time, knowing that small routines would lead to the same result—back where he was pre-injury.
That theory makes perfect sense for us all. We know what we want, so if we use good habits to achieve those things, we’re more likely to reach and maintain the desired result. As it says in the book summary, think “one percent better every day.”
Let’s create a relatable scenario, shall we?
Say, Tom Reynolds, owner of a small manufacturing business, decides that this will be the year he appreciates, recognizes and rewards his employees more. Great thinking Tom!
He makes a non-specific resolution though: this year I’ll spend more time getting to know every team member better. Although this is a wonderful idea, he hasn’t really connected the dots on how to make it happen.
By mid-February, Tom is so busy that his resolution drops to the bottom of his endless to-do list. The next time he looks up, it’s mid-November and he’s setting new resolutions for the next year!
What’s a better way for Tom to accomplish what he wants?
One daily good habit! Every day Tom should simply say “Good morning” to each of his team members.
The point is this—establishing just one small routine creates emotional awareness. The habit of saying “Good morning,” makes Tom feel good, and he sees a slight shift in employee morale. This connection between habit and results increases Tom’s desire to recognize his team more often.
Now he’s ready to add another small routine. Perhaps Tom gets in the habit of stopping to chat with one or two employees each day, or he sets aside time on Friday afternoons to recognize and/or reward achievements.
It Begins With Intention
Now that you have a bit more info on how small changes yield significant results, consider replacing the frustrating and futile resolutions with daily habits. Stop right now and begin with an intention—think about one small good habit that you can add to your daily routine that will set you up to reach your bigger goal.
If you’re like Tom, and want to connect with your team more, start with a simple “Good morning.” If you want to lose weight, drink some water before each meal. And if you want to start exercising, begin by walking in place while you brush your teeth.
You get the idea. Now get to it! Remember “one percent better every day!” Each small habit you implement will add up to big accomplishments more quickly and successfully than you can imagine.
We’re here to help you give your team the appreciation they deserve. Visit Baudville.com or our Ideas & Inspiration page for more ways to create happiness and harmony in your workplace.