It’s that time of the year — to come up with your New Year’s resolution. The plan to finally resolve your problems once and for all.
It’s true – we all have problems. You know what I’m talking about. The thoughts in your head telling you to fix it — weight problem, money problem, or relationship problem, just to name a few. Whether is major or minor, it’s human nature to have some sort of problem (it’s not just you).
Another way to put it is having a lifelong goal. If you think about it, really we are trying to fix our problem to reach an ultimate goal, which is our desired state, whatever it may be (e.g. fix our weight problem so that we can be healthier and happier).
Now, the real question is what do you do when you want to solve that problem? Well, you first need to find the the “how tos” — it is vital that you gather all the right information that provides you the ‘step-by-step’ process.
We all know it’s not hard to find information — You can Google it, read self-help books, consult with professionals, or find a mentor (someone who had succeeded in solving your problem). That part is easy. What’s the hardest part? — execution. And this is the very question that I struggled for many years. What is causing this gap between knowing and actually doing it?
It turns out, the answer is this: habit. Because our behavior is very much driven by the habits we formed throughout our lives, the first step of fixing our problem (i.e. executing our game plan) is by changing our habitual behaviors.
There are many researches, articles, podcasts, that talks about habit. This posting isn’t really about sharing the science behind how habit works but rather to share a simple plan that worked for me based on my findings about habit. I’m a person who very much believes in simplicity — I think often times too much information and/or options paralyzes us and for that reason, I wanted to share these 4 simplified techniques that has never failed me (yet).
#1 ANT IS LESS SCARIER THAN A COCKROACH
This is so true! Of course, I’m not really talking about insects here. The point is — take small steps. In order to implement a new habit (i.e. desired behavior), the change cannot be threatening. How many times you failed a diet, for example, when you had an unrealistic goal? In order words, it’s lot less threatening if you set your goal to lose 5 pounds a month vs. 30 pounds a month. It’s lot less threatening to eliminate soda intake vs. sugar intake. You get the point. So, start small and adopt a behavior that can be achieved without too much willpower. The change cannot be too scary.
#2 TOOTHBRUSHING TECHNIQUE
How many of you debate whether you should brush your teeth today or not? Probably nobody! We all brush our teethes at least twice a day. There’s no question about that. That’s exactly the mindset you should have for your new habit. It shouldn’t be up for debate – Just do it, just like how you would brush your teeth.
#3 TRUST-YOUR-BABY METHOD
One of the things that is often ignored but is as equally important as taking action is believing in yourself. What I mean here is you have to believe that you can actually change your habit. Just like how any parents have complete faith in their child, you have to have that same faith in yourself (no doubts allowed) and this is why I call this a “trust-your-baby” method. If there’s one thing I learned from reading many success stories is this — they all believed. Don’t underestimate the power of your mind.
#4 LEGO MASTERPIECE
I’m sure you built Lego before. Anytime you build something, you have in mind what you are going to build, right? New habit should be just like that. Yes, taking small steps are important, but these are just the little lego pieces. It will get you nowhere if you aren’t sure what you are building. You must know what your ultimate goal is — your Lego masterpiece. So, determine your goal first, and only then adopt the small steps into your daily life.
As the year is wrapping up, it can’t be a better time to think about how to make yourself better. Don’t we all want to be a better version of ourselves this year than last year? So, what habit do you want to adopt?
I hope this posting gave you some new insights to becoming a better you! If you have personal stories how you bridged the gap between knowing and doing or a problem that you finally want to tackle this coming year, please share! I would love to hear from all of you (and honestly, I love personal stories!).
Picture Credit: by Yoori Koo (unsplash.com)