• Anjum

New Year, New Habits

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Wow – can you believe this is the last post of the year? Where has this year gone?

'Tis the season to set New Year’s Resolutions and that means new habits. So, of course, that has been on my mind a lot. I have started a few different habits this year and have some ideas on what has worked and what has not, so I thought I would share some of those with you, in case it helps you as you start on this new year. (PS Have you joined my Journal Challenge?)

As some of you know, I am a researcher. I must confess, I went on a bit of a rampage – devouring a few podcasts that were interviewing James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and he said a couple of things that I found extremely eye-opening.

Tip 1: Take it 1% at a Time

“Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.”

This stood out to me – how many times do we talk about the goal, without putting much thought into the systems. That’s the epitome of most new goals. We think about the goal, without thinking about how we are going to get to them.

A while ago, a project manager friend helped me when I had a goal that felt overwhelming. She broke it down for me into micro-steps – suddenly, the goal didn’t feel as scary. It is the same thing with habits.

“Getting 1 percent better every day counts for a lot in the long-run.” He talks about breaking down habits into extremely small chunks. So, if your goal is to write 3 pages every morning (inspired by one of the pillars of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), perhaps you start by sitting down and writing 1 sentence every day – do that for a few days or weeks, until that part is a habit – then add a little more. Slowly build by 1% until you reach your goal. The 1% doesn’t seem scary and before you know it, you’ll have made real, significant progress towards your goal – and be more successful at it.

Tip 2: Stack your Habits

“One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top.”