How to stick to habits, routines and New Year’s Resolutions

How to stick to habits, routines and New Year's Resolutions and why you didn't before

And why you didn’t succeed before.

Isn’t it wonderful?! The new year gives you a brand new chance to start over! A new beginning and an opportunity to clear limiting beliefs, set goals and get excited about giving yourself a fresh start. 

Many, including myself, set new year’s resolutions. We’re optimistic and hit the new year thinking that this year everything is going to be better, healthier, easier or  whatever. 

Two weeks into the new year, these resolutions suddenly don’t seem that easy anymore. You fall back into ‘old’ habits, lose your excitement and they start to fade. 

Sounds like you? That was me year after year. But, not anymore and I’ll show you how to turn YOUR New Year’s Resolutions into a part of you as if it’s always been that way. 

Let’s have a look:

1. Remembering your reasons why 

When doing anything in life, the most important thing to know is the reason WHY! Before we start a project or learn something new, there always IS a reason WHY we want to start it in the first place. Think of the reason why you eat. It’s obvious, because you’re hungry and need fuel for your body. 

Now, why do you practise yoga? Or why do you want to improve your English skills? 

The reason why is your motivation. When we forget the reason behind our wish or desire for change, our motivation starts to fade. We don’t see the importance of it anymore: we simply think it isn’t as necessary as we thought initially and, eventually, we give up.

Think or write down your New Year’s Resolutions or a desire or wish you have to change. If you have written them down with me during the New Year’s Resolution Setting Workshop, go to your page or paper and lay it in front of you to answer the following questions:

  1. When did you first think of this change you wanted to make?
  2. What was your motivation at the time? What is it now?
  3. Where will you be (physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually) after you’ve achieved this change?
  4. How will you feel after you’ve achieved this change?
  5. Who could help you or hold you accountable while you’re making this change and maintaining it?
  6. Look at the answers above and summarise WHY you want this change. 

If you’re doing this with a friend, exchange your ideas. Reading them out loud to yourself in the mirror could also help you emphasise your reasons why and motivation

2. ‘Replace’ instead of ‘restrict’

In ‘Blame the Brain’ we’ve already mentioned it. Restriction is asking for trouble. The more we tell ourselves not to do something, the more we want it. Just telling yourself not to  give in, especially when it’s a long-term habit, has a positive effect only for very few people.

Replace your habits, unwanted actions, thoughts and behaviour with the things, like needs and wishes, that you actually desire. 

When your body and mind are used to getting something or if you experience regular cravings, research shows that the easiest way to deal with these feelings is by  ‘tricking’ the body and mind. Going for a healthier option, but still meeting its wishes in a way.

This way it’s not only easier for you to stick to your new habit, eating patterns or resolutions, it will also help prevent you t from falling back into old habits

Example: 

If you want to ‘quit eating sugar’ – eat a piece of fruit when you have a sugar craving instead, or replace it with nuts, natural (pea)nut butter or raisins for example. Your body will still get some of what it feels it needs. If you replace processed snacks containing added sugars with the natural sugars of fruit or the beneficial fats in peanut butter and nuts, you’ve immediately replaced your unhealthy craving with a nutritious one. You’ll have satisfied your craving to some extent, so you won’t need your old habit so badly.

If you’re looking to limit your procrastination – go for a walk instead of spending hours browsing social media. During your walk your brain gets stimulated and most often inspired. You might even want to listen to a podcast that encourages you to keep up your good behaviour.

3. Turn your failures into a learning experience

During my yoga teacher training I learned to celebrate my wins and let go of losses. If you focus on the things you have achieved and let go of the things you didn’t do, you don’t only shift your focus, but it also stimulates and pushes you to do more. It helps you to cultivate a ‘gratitude attitude’, boosts your self-esteem which altogether leads to more success.

Embrace the concept of trial-and-error and don’t be afraid of making mistakes or falling back into old habits/relapsing from time to time. Know that errors are necessary to learn, make progress and understand your path, yourself and those around you better. 

I can’t stress it enough: practise and all will come. And if you lose patience or feel defeated, remember all the things you have achieved already! A loss is only a lesson learned and has given you new experience to grow and improve for the better.

Example: 

You wanted to start the year productively, but it’s the 9th of January and you haven’t done anything on your to-do list. You feel useless, desperate and don’t understand how you’ve been able to let it get out of hand already. 

What did you do instead? Did you spend time with your friends or family? Self-care? Yoga asana? Nothing? Even when the answer is nothing, I’m pretty sure that maybe you needed it. Maybe you needed to charge your batteries to get started. Or you needed this time to realise that NOW is your time to do or start something new. 

Don’t beat yourself up. Yesterday is gone, and today is not too late to start! At least you’re rested and feeling less rushed now! 

4. The power of support and community

For a long time I used to be a lone wolf: a person who enjoys doing things alone, my way, simply because I was stubborn. 

Sometimes we choose to do things alone because we’re embarrassed or think these changes are too personal.

But have you ever heard of a one-man success? Have you ever heard of a one-man success? Neil Armstrong didn’t make it to the moon alone! How could any business be successful without its customers? We need each other.  

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 2020, it’s the power of community and support. Surrounding yourself with people that have similar interests and beliefs or who are going through a similar process or phase in their lives, understand each other. They have something to share. They recognise themselves in you, and you in them. This creates companionship and the voluntary willingness to support each other, help each other AND hold each other accountable. 

People are social beings and want to share with and learn from others. Sharing and learning with others not only makes you feel part of something, it also makes you feel seen, heard, understood and cared for. 

Our community is loving, caring and very involved with each other and I would absolutely love for you to be part of it. Butgo with your own gut and search for the people that you click with. You know yourself and your needs best, but don’t try to do it all alone, because this will set you up for failure. 

During our 5-Day Challenge, I’ll check up on how you’re doing. I’ll share more tips and tricks to stick to your new routines, habits and resolutions. And you’ll be able to share and learn with others and be inspired by your community. It’s such a cliche, but we’re all in this together so why not make use of it to show yourself and each other that we’re capable!

Download the worksheet below or go your worksheet library to really make your wished desires become your reality!