Forget the Resolution: Start a New Habit This Year

How many of your friends (or you!) are busy working on a resolution that they are sure to bitterly abandon by January 13th? There is a lot of scientific evidence that resolutions and even smart goals don’t cause permanent change. According to Charles Duhigg, these resolutions fail because most don’t help you effectively form a new habit. Last year, I listened to his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business and realized how powerful this information really is — especially for this time of year when we’re refreshed and ready to take on change!

What is a Habit — Really?

In The Power of Habit, Duhigg explains that habits are made up of three components: the cue, the routine, and the reward. For example, when I wake up in the morning that’s my cue to workout, running is the routine, and the reward is the awesome, fit feeling I get right after working out.

Habit Loop
Duhigg’s Habit Loop | Image Credit: CharlesDuhigg.com

Changing Your Habits

If you want to change a habit or form a new habit, you need to change the cue or the routine and/or take away the reward, which means you have to be fully aware of what acts as the cue, routine, and reward for each of your habits. Figuring out how to pick apart your habits is nearly half the challenge of figuring out how to change them! If you change the cue or routine, but leave the reward, you can change a bad habit into a good habit (or vice versa).

Another essential component of habit change is belief. You need to believe you can do it. That means finding a support group that can reinforce your new habits or an accountability partner who will check-in and push you to achieve your goals.

Habit Change Flow Chart

That seems easy enough, right? Well, there is some nuance and plenty of pitfalls along the way to re-engineering any habit. Every person and every habit is different. So how can a novice put these ideas to work? Follow Duhigg’s flow chart, of course!

How toChange a Habit: Flow Chart
Flow Chart Credit: CharlesDuhigg.com

This is brilliant chart that will help you actually achieve those New Year’s resolutions. If you want more context for each of these steps, you can read more about them on charlesduhigg.com.

Would you like help making habits stick for your teams? Contact us to find out how we can help!

Happy New Year from the O2 team!

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