The Power of Habits Over Resolutions

Goals alone are not enough. It's the daily habits you practice that will actually help you achieve your goals and get stuff done.New year. New you?

The beginning of the year is often filled with new hope. Many people set resolutions to “lose weight”, get healthy”, “save money”, and more. But in just a few weeks (or even just a few days for some), most people have already given up on their new year’s resolutions. They don’t see any quick progress to help them stay motivated and so they think “Oh well, I’ll just try again next year.”

We’ve been there too! That’s why Kayla, Erin, and Chonce decided to work on developing new habits instead of setting unachievable and unrealistic new year’s resolutions.

The Difference Between Resolutions and Habits

The reason most resolutions don’t work out is because they are both too lofty and undefined. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to “lose weight”, “get healthy”, or “save money”. But oftentimes people try to set new year’s resolutions to do all three things at the same time.

Each of these things is difficult to achieve on it’s own, not to mention when you try to achieve them simultaneously. Plus, without clear measures to really define what they mean, you don’t have anything specific to be working toward.

What About Goals?

Instead of setting resolutions, some people decide to set goals for the year. They’ll set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based) goals, which is definitely better than new years resolutions, but not as powerful as habits. Even when setting goals, it’s tempting to set too many goals, which can leave you feeling frustrated and ultimately giving up if you don’t achieve them as you had planned.

Plus, goals and resolutions don’t allow flexibility as well as habits do. You never know what life may bring, so it can be hard to set a resolution or goal for the year because your life might look totally different in 12 months.

For instance, you might set a goal or resolution related to your career, but by the end of the year you might find yourself working for a different employer, in a different field, or just having different priorities at work.

The Power of Habits

The power of habits lies in the fact that they aren’t tied to any deadline or “promise”. Instead, you just create small daily, weekly, or monthly habits.

These habits are easy to keep because you don’t have the big resolution or goal hanging over your head. If you fail to do one of your habits one day, it’s not a problem. You can just get back on track the very next day, instead of feeling like you’ve failed your whole goal or resolution. Plus, you can change your habits as your life changes.

The truth is, habits can actually lead you achieving things you might have set as goals, but you are playing tricks on your mind by looking at it only as a small daily habit instead of seeing a big picture that feels unachievable.

10 Habits to Consider Starting

To help you get in the habit of creating habits (ha!) instead of setting goals or resolutions, here are some to consider. These  can help you work toward the same thing as many of the popular new years resolutions that are often already forgotten by this time of year:

  1. Practice gratitude by writing down one thing you are grateful for each day.
  2. Drink at least 64 oz of water each day to stay hydrated.
  3. Get 8 hours of sleep each night by going to be earlier.
  4. Adopt a “Do it Now” attitude to stop the nasty habit of procrastinating.
  5. Read for at least 30 minutes each day.
  6. Track your spending by writing it down every evening.
  7. Go on a daily walk, run, or bike ride.
  8. Shut off electronics by the same time each evening.
  9. Spend a few minutes in solitude, reflecting on each day.
  10. Have meaningful conversation with your partner sometime each day.

Continuing the Conversation

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation podcast! We hope you enjoyed your holidays and we are excited to be back on the show!

We’ve made a few changes to the show. For one, we’ll be doing the podcast in seasons with each season having an overarching theme that all of the episodes will be related to. We think this will make it easier for you to find information on specific topics, and it will help us organize our thoughts to provide you with more valuable conversations and resources.

If you want to catch up on episodes from last season, you can find them here.

For season two, the theme is self care and being the best you can be.

We kicked off season two this week with our first episode about why we chose NOT to set New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, we are all trying to use habits to reach our goals this year.

Goals alone are not enough. It's the daily habits you practice that will actually help you achieve your goals and get stuff done.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 2:03 – Have you ever set New Year’s Resolutions?
  • 2:18 – The difference between goals and resolutions
  • 3:33 – Why habits are more flexible than resolutions
  • 6:18 – The habits we are implementing this year
  • 12:28 – Have you ever reversed a bad habit?
  • 16:10 – The “One Word for the Year” trend
  • 21:28 – Habits can help you achieve a goal without ever setting one
  • 27:33 – How “over-goaling” can be a bad thing

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