The Ghost of Christmas Future

This is a story about resolutions and the habits they change.

This time of year, everyone has the tendency, or urgency, to make a change and to start anew. In some cases, it becomes a half-hearted attempt and with others, it leads to a lifelong impact on an everyday habit. It all begins with day one, step one: action.

According to John M. Grohol, PsyD, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central, it can take anywhere from 66 days to eight and a half months to form a new habit. Grohol writes: “So 66 days later, a simple habit might be in place and on automatic pilot. But as the research shows, it could take as long as eight and a half months for more complicated habits to take hold.”

That’s quite a time span, but don’t be discouraged. It all starts with one day at a time. How do I know? I have done it for three years in a row. In the last two years, I tackled recycling and blogging.

The first week of any new venture is easy; your habits are fresh and new. A month and a half in, you have to toughen up and push through. However, true to Grohol’s statement, by the third month, I was doing it automatically. My spirits lifted and I glided through the year with a new habit formed and beamed with the pride of accomplishment.

Over those years, I have learned some tips that made my resolve to change a bit easier.

  1. Broadcast your resolution. Tell your family and friends. Be proud. Then get it done. Those friends will ask how you are coming along, and your family will see how you are doing every day. This can add to your accountability and help in those transition days.
  2. Your results increase exponentially when your family becomes involved. Call it the gift that keeps on giving – when you resolve to make a change and your family decides to hop on board too, then it’s pretty wonderful.  They support you and want to make the same change, which helps you, inspires them and increases support for everyone involved. It is far easier to reach your resolution when your family is on board then simply by yourself.
  3. Mini-celebrate at month three. It is true that at about 66 days or roughly two months, that the habit is automatic. It’s an uplifting feeling the first time you catch yourself doing your new habit with necessity and not obligation. This is a time for a mini-celebration or gift to yourself, perhaps a new book or DVD, something that will remind you of your accomplishment every time you see it.
  4. Springboard this year into next. Don’t just stop now that you have come to the end of the year. Your success can be a jumping off point in the coming New Year. You know you can do it and have what it takes. This time make the resolution a bit harder, stretch harder for that dream. There is no telling what you can accomplish.

This year, I have taken two big steps in my self-improvement: I have started a CrossFit regiment at a local gym and taken a Paleo Diet approach to what I eat. I know it will be hard and it will be tough. My countdown to 66 days and eight and a half months has begun.

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2 Comments

Filed under OpEd

2 responses to “The Ghost of Christmas Future

  1. So true! Thanks for this pep talk as I start on my looooong journey of resolve and improvement. I purposefully put a bunch of easier to-dos on my list so I could have some of those mini celebrations along the way. Can’t wait to hear how CrossFit and Paleo treat you. Good luck!

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