We're already on the 39th day, 6th full week or 2nd month of the year. How is your resolution going? Are you where you thought you "should" be by now?
A common myth about habit change is that it takes 30 days for a new habit to form. While that can be true, it is often closer to 60 days to automate a new habit.
So I ask again? How are you doing? Are you staying accountable to yourself? Do you need help staying accountable?
Let's be honest, we all know the fastest way to successfully change a habit is to have an accountability partner. But that's not always realistic. Sometimes we're not in a place in a life with kind of support, and sometimes we're just not comfortable with the vulnerability of sharing our goals with others.
A method to hold yourself accountable is the "Don't Break the Chain" method employed by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. I personally use this one all-the-time because it's super simple to do, and very effective.
Get an old school monthly calendar, print one if needed. Every day you accomplish your habit, you place an "X" or some other visual on the date. Now just try not to break the chain. This is how Seinfeld became such a good joke writer. He would write jokes and practice delivery daily, holding himself accountable with the "chain".
The psychological effect of seeing the chain grow, is phenomenal.
I remember when my son was little and we would be going through deployments that sometimes seemed to drag by. One of the ways we would stay motivated even when it seemed slow was to make a paper chain. You know, the old school chains you would make as Christmas Tree garland. Everyday, we would get up and attach another "link" in the chain. It helped to see the progress through the months apart.
Use anything that creates a visual of progress as a successful accountability tracking addition to your new found habit. Monitoring your tangible progress of a process such as going to the gym every day, is empowering versus monitoring something like weight and measurements which can be slow and finiky. The growing "chain" will become the reward system your brain needs to keep going even when it's hard.
Remember, resolutions can be made any time of the year, they are just referred to as "goals"! So go ahead, commit to yourself today that you're going to make a small change to get healthier. What's one thing you can do?
Here are a some suggestions:
- Call a distant friend or family member daily
- Compliment your significant other daily
- Stretch for 10 minutes daily
- Drink X ounces of water daily
- Read 5 pages of a book daily (that's over (6) 300 page books in a year)
- Walk for 10 minutes at lunch
- Taste a new food daily
- Turn off your phone and/or TV 30 minutes before bed
It's not too late to find a solution for that resolution. We're only 39 days, 6 weeks or just over two months into 2018. What's your solution?