Why You Shouldn’t Wait For January 1st to Start Your New Year’s Resolution
How many of us have been there before… You wait until January 1st to come around until you start fresh with a handful of new goals. If it’s not January 1st, you wait until Monday or you wait for the beginning of the month before committing to implementing some sort of new behaviour. There’s something about starting at the beginning, whether it’s the start of the week, month, or year to get us going, but could this be something contributing to us falling off the routine or resolution quicker?
When we decide a change is in order, say “quitting smoking”for example, we recognize that our previous behaviour is less favourable and a new more favourable behaviour will help us improve in some way. When we consciously decide that we want to engage in that new behaviour, often times we decide when we are going to implement this new behaviour and allow a period of time for the previous less favourable behaviour to continue. For example, we decide that once we run out of cigarettes we will stop smoking. We then binge this behaviour and put it off until mentally we decide it is time and then attempt to quit all together. This can lead to the cognitive distortion of “all or nothing thinking” where we think in extremes. You either do it all or you do none of it, which causes changes to happen extremely abruptly yet less sustainably. It can contribute to the rule of “zero versus one hundred”, where if you break the rule even once, you have failed. Instead, when you decide a change is needed, starting small and setting reasonable achievable goals immediately can help foster a genuine new behaviour or habit. Rather than smoking all the cigarettes and then smoking none, instead slowly decrease the amount of cigarettes you are smoking per day until the number is zero and a new behaviour has been practiced over several weeks.
New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to begin the year off strong, with a fresh mindset, and a handful of goals for the year. I am not saying not to set New Year’s Resolutions or that they aren’t beneficial. I am however saying that in order to foster consistency, it helps to regularly promote internal growth and start immediately when the goal comes to mind with achievable, small goals. If you have the goal to go on your phone less, or read more, put down the phone as soon as you decide that behaviour is less favourable, and pick up the book as soon as you decide that behaviour is more favourable. That way, you don’t spend the next four days waiting for Monday to come around, still on your phone the same amount even after you decided that it is disadvantages.
Start now. I believe in you
Author: Medina Bandalli. To speak with Medina, book an appointment online now