This Is the Most Common Mistake in the New Year’s Resolution.

Many New Year’s resolutions (and last year’s resolutions) involve creating new, life-enhancing habits. And while this is a great idea in theory, the reality is that lifestyle changes are very difficult.

Unfortunately, there is no universal solution to this problem, but there is a common mistake that many people make when developing new habits. Here’s what you need to know, including how to avoid it.

Why is it so hard to start a new habit?

While having high goals is one thing, it is important to have realistic expectations for yourself. But even that is hard.

TikTok and Instagram are chock-full of posts that condense months or even years of hard work into one-minute transformation videos. We want and expect instant gratification, but unfortunately that’s not how habit formation works. The numbers vary, but one study suggests that it usually takes about two months for something to become a habit, and many of us don’t do it that long.

So where are we wrong? Again, it comes down to expectations. More specifically, we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves when we make any perceived mistakes when trying to develop a new habit.

When we enter with an all-or-nothing mindset – unwilling to accept anything but perfection – and inevitably fall short of those expectations, we take it as a failure and rationalize the rejection.

Use Flexibility and Creativity When Forming a New Habit

Instead of being rigid, use flexibility and creativity.

“Creativity and habit change are inextricably intertwined,” Jack McGurty, Ph.D. , an associate professor of business at Columbia University, told Health . “Creative thinking allows us to develop new and innovative ways to incorporate our habits into our lives, even when we are faced with challenges or distractions.”

Here are a few strategies to consider:

Adjust your expectations

Let go of this rigid approach and get to work with the understanding that mistakes and oversights will occur and that this is normal and completely normal. In fact, expect errors along the way, or better yet, don’t think of them as errors but rather part of the process.

Turn it up

Some of the most common New Year’s habits – like getting in shape or cutting out sugar, alcohol or caffeine – have generally accepted principles and “success” formulas, breaking down what you should be doing each week or month. . But we don’t all think or act the same, so one-size-fits-all approaches have never been feasible.

So if the traditional path to this habit doesn’t work for you, change it. Set your own schedule and benchmarks , and if you find unconventional approaches that work for you, use them.

Give yourself time and space to be creative

When it comes to developing a new habit, many people prefer to follow established rules simply because it’s easier. Someone else has done the work of making a plan: you just have to follow it. But as we discussed above, there is no guarantee that this will work for you.

Of course, using established guidelines means you can get started right away, and while it seems like it will save time if you can’t stick to it and end up giving up, it really isn’t.

Instead, allow yourself the time and space needed to develop a habit development plan based on your strengths and lifestyle. Yes, creativity takes more time and effort at the initial stage, but setting yourself up for success is worth it.


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