“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
The New Year is often a time of reflection, appraisal, and change. You, like many, may take the opportunity to make resolutions as you consider the coming year. To ask yourself, “What would I like do? Where would I like to go? Who would I like to be?” The New Year is certainly a supreme moment to ask these questions and to begin to enact changes that ultimately transform your life and how you live. But, all too often, these resolutions fall by the wayside. All the hope and luster of the coming year give way to the pressures and the distractions of everyday life and before you know it another year has passed without change. Why is that so?
habits-for-successDespite your good intentions, resolutions usually fade because they lack productive and healthy habits. Now, the meaning of the word ‘habit’ has its roots in the religious or clerical dress of nuns and monks. It’s attire that is worn everyday. From a psychological standpoint, a habit is “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”[1] Developing a habit, good or bad, takes practice. It’s a process. As you may well know, the declaration of a resolution, no matter how enthusiastically done, does not make the resolution so.
The resolution is the dream. The result. The goal. Whether you work as businessperson or an artist, no resolution can be achieved without habit. The resolution represents a shortcoming, something you would like to change, someone you would like to become. The habit is the means by which the resolution is accomplished. It’s a foundation upon which you build. It’s a vehicle that propels you forward.
This year, as you make New Year’s resolutions and imagine the person you would like to become, be sure to consider the process of change. Modify your daily routine with your resolution in mind. Habits take practice. Pragmatically, you may consider ways that you might track your progress. Keep a journal or a calendar. Make lists. Find a system that works for you. In order to develop a habit, it’s important that you practice it daily. Commit to that process. This can be challenging at first. As you begin to practice your new habit, you may find that there are a number of bad habits that conflict with your new routine. Let your new habits replace those bad habits. Out with the old, in with the new. Soon, you’ll be surprised how your new habit becomes second nature.
The road to success is often not an easy one. But developing productive and healthy habits along the way can make you a stronger person, more fit for the challenges you may encounter. As you work towards your goals, remember to have patience with yourself. To be kind and gracious when bad habits creep back in. Learn to recognize those times. Remember that developing habits is a process and success is a practice.
[1] Dictionary.com: “habit”

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