Year of the Habit

The problem with New Year's resolutions is that people try to do too much too fast. A little self-improvement to go with the new year is great, but declaring you'll eat healthy, exercise more, wake up earlier, finally write that novel, and be a better person all at the same time is too much to manage. Transforming into your ideal self overnight is impossible, and that's one reason so many New Year's resolutions fail.

When it comes to getting better, baby steps are often much more effective than huge leaps. You can't just decide to start waking up at 5am if you're used to sleeping until 10:30am. At least, I can't. Waking up a few minutes earlier every day, however, makes it much easier. It's what Merlin refers to as "fresh starts and modest changes".

But uh, Andrew. It's February. No one cares about their New Year's resolutions anymore.


I didn't really have a resolution this year, or if I did, I can't remember what it was now. However, I did manage to develop a couple of new habits in January.

The first was to publish something original five days a week. This will be my fourth straight week of publishing an original piece Monday through Friday, and it feels really good. I've been sticking to a routine of writing at night and auto-posting every morning at 4:30am. This allows those of you who are email subscribers to wake up with a new article in your inbox each morning. Keeping to this schedule helps both of us; it helps me write consistently, which helps you read consistently.

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Earlier last month, I also wrote about how I was trying to develop a flossing habit by using Plackers in the shower. This has been going very well, to the point where I feel weird if I don't floss at least once a day. Mission accomplished. Take that, dental hygienist.

Flossing is a tiny little thing, but because it's a small change and I made it as easy as possible to achieve, I had little trouble turning it into a habit. Sources say that thirty days is a good benchmark for developing new habits. If you can do something for thirty days, it becomes part of your routine. Plus, saying you'll do something for thirty days sounds much easier compared to telling yourself to change for the rest of your life. With this in mind, I introduce to you:

2012: The Year of the Habit

I've decided to ingrain a new habit each month this year by focusing on one thing at a time. A little change every month doesn't sound too hard, right? For February, I've stopped biting my nails. I've tried to do this several times before, but never using the thirty-days method.

I'm confident I'll be able to get through it, and I look forward to choosing a new habit in March. If you make one new habit a month for twelve months, then you'll be a whole new you when 2013 rolls around.

I'll be keeping you updated of my progress as the month goes on. If you'd like to pick a habit of your own, or restart one of your resolutions, then let me know on Twitter! Having people to hold you accountable is a big help. Strength in numbers!

Have a great week.

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