Every new years’ eve and day, we can all expect to hear this phrase: “This is going to be my year.” We’re all looking ahead to a fresh new start, full of hope for what’s to come. Some of us hold out hope…while the rest roll their eyes at the idea, knowing it’ll all be forgotten in a month or two. It’s too easy to get caught up in the hype and lose momentum towards any goal after a few months in. Each year, some of us set lofty goals, like losing a significant amount of weight by a certain time, getting a promotion, reading a certain amount of books or making a certain amount of money by a specific date, and then lose steam by spring. It’s not easy to see goals through to the end of the year and it’s way more common for people to get discouraged and abandon them or forget. So don’t feel too guilty about years past, but as we kick off 2022, don’t make the same mistakes. The cold-turkey or all-or-nothing approach to accomplishing goals rarely works out - instead, try hacking the power of habits to get to them!
Habits Hold The Power
We are what we continuously do - not what we continuously talk about or dream about. And what makes up what we do is routines and habits. If you are an athlete, that means you train every day - whether it’s strength training, endurance training or other types of exercises. If you are a singer, that means you go over vocal scales every day and spend time training your voice. If you are a photographer, then you study composition, you go out and take photos consistently and you color grade and edit your photos. If you don’t do these daily, you won’t have the end results of being and looking athletic, being able to perform as an athlete, being able to hit certain notes as a singer, being able to perform or being able to showcase a portfolio of impressive, professional photos. What makes you any of these titles is the consistent work you do. In the new year, focus on your habits and use them to reach your goals.
Unlearn What You Thought
We tend to identify with assigned qualities based on what our parents told us or what others around us emphasized. If someone tells you you’re a terrible dancer after one night out, you may absorb that idea and believe it enough to repeat it to others in the future. If someone else then meets you and asks if you can dance, you’ll probably say “No, I’m a terrible dancer.” But the truth is, you had one instance when you were seen dancing and someone else just formed the opinion that you weren’t good based on their own taste. It doesn’t mean it’s true. And even if it is, if you have the desire to change that and become an excellent dancer, the only thing standing in your way from becoming that is developing new habits - a habit of practicing, a habit of studying and a habit of doing.
If you’ve identified as a person who doesn’t dance well, isn’t good at math, isn’t flexible, doesn’t get tattoos, isn’t outgoing or anything else, and you wish you were, you first need to unlearn those identity constructs. You must create room in your mind so you can adopt new qualities. Being human means we’re constantly learning and evolving. That means anything you thought you couldn’t do, you can learn to do. Unlearn your past so you can learn your future!
Choosing Which Habits
First, figure out what your goals are - then, match the right habits with those goals. You should start by identifying what kind of person you want to be. Choose who you want to be, then choose what habits that type of person would need to have. If you decide you want to be the kind of person that can dance well, then your new habit regimen will consist of things like watching dance videos on Youtube, attending dance classes and practicing new moves at home every day. What else would a dancer do? A dancer wouldn’t eat things that weigh her down, like fatty, fried foods. A dancer would eat healthy things like fruits and vegetables to help her feel better and have more energy as she is moving around. A dancer would study choreography and technique; a dancer would have a comfortable, stretchy wardrobe, stocked with dance leggings, crop tops, stretchy yoga pants, cute, printed sports bras and colorful fitness apparel.
Habits allow you to slowly become the type of person you’ve always wanted to be, one step at a time. You don’t have to transform from one day to the next. You can slowly build up your life to look exactly the way you wanted to. If you follow these habit hacks, by the end of the new year, you’ll be so surprised at how far you’ve come!