Photo Courtesy of Alain Bachellier
I am just baffled because I actually scheduled a post to be posted on my blog on Christmas Day (knowing that I will be in church and spending time with the family) only to find out that it has been missing. Weird, huh?
Speaking of older posts, I always realised that I have been blogging about my New Year resolutions and I realised that I didn’t set any for 2009. I guess that after setting them in 2007 and 2008, it hasn’t really turned out that well. Let’s just say that I haven’t been able to get off my ass and start making a change in my life.
One of the funny things is that my friends always say that my weight is like a yo-yo. It goes down as fast as it quickly goes up. Definitely one area which I will be concentrating in my resolutions this year, maybe its because of a different motivation altogether this time. I will talk about that later.
I guess with most other people is that we all set too many resolutions. Worse of all, we try to tackle all of them all at a time. I for one, am guilty of spreading myself too thin by challenging myself to so many different habits to break that I lose my motivational momentum. Recently I read this blog post on how to stick to our new year’s resolution and it really was an eye opener!
Leo says that, (ironically he is a Leo as well :))
New Year’s Resolutions usually fail because of a combination of some of these reasons:
- We try to do too many resolutions at once, and that spreads our focus and energies too thin. It’s much less effective to do many habits at once (read more).
- We only have a certain amount of enthusiasm and motivation, and it runs out because we try to do too much, too soon. We spend all that energy in the beginning and then run out of steam.
- We try to do really tough habits right away, which means it’s difficult and we become overwhelmed or intimidated by the difficulty and quit.
- We try to be “disciplined” and do very unpleasant habits, but our nature won’t allow that to last for long. If we really don’t want to do something, we won’t be able to force ourselves to do it for long.
- Life gets in the way. Things come up unexpectedly that get in the way of us sticking with a habit.
- Resolutions are often vague — I’m going to exercise! — but don’t contain a concrete action plan and don’t use proven habit techniques. That’s a recipe for failure.
Now from the above I can safely say that I met all of those which led me to find out that I have been missing all these time. From mentioning some of the reasons why we fail, Leo then went on to talk about the 6 changes we can do and how to start working on that.
- We only focus on one habit change at a time, so our focus and energies aren’t spread thinly.
- We implement the habit changes gradually, so we don’t run out of steam.
- We start out really, really easily, so it isn’t intimidating.
- We focus on enjoyable activities, so we don’t need “discipline”.
- We have two months to do the habit change, so if something comes up, it’s but a small bump in the road. And because we’re publicly committed, we’re going to get back on track.
- We have a very specific plan with actions built in, using proven habit change techniques.
If you stick with the method, you’ll do much better than you’ve done in the past with New Year’s Resolutions. You’ll focus on creating long-lasting habits rather than trying to reach a short-term goal that fails. You’ll maintain your enthusiasm for longer and not become overwhelmed by the difficulty of change. You’ll have habits that will change your life, and that’s no small feat.
So how does the 6 Changes method work?
- Pick 6 habits for 2010.
- Pick 1 of the 6 habits to start with.
- Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 2 months.
- Break the habit into 8 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step. Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night.
- Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit. Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.
- Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger. Post your progress publicly. (Read more.)
- Each week, move on to a slightly harder step. You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t. You’re building a new habit. Repeat this until you’ve done 8 weeks.
You now have a new habit! Commit to Habit No. 2 and repeat the process.
Pretty interesting if you asked me but at the same time, don’t we feel that most of the resolutions that we set ourselves are something that we don’t like doing hence it becomes something we don’t like and hence we need a resolution to get around it? But the 6 methods does come as a truth because for every habit we might want to achieve, there is definitely something fun out of it.
It is also interesting that Leo did mention about public accountability hence I do hope that the readers of my blog keep me accountable for my 6 habit changes! A comment or two would definitely be helpful in reminding me and checking up with me if I have been keeping up with my habits. I heard that if I do something consistent for at least 20 times then it will become a habit.
So here are my new year’s resolutions for 2010!
- Wake up earlier and start my day earlier. I usually wake up quite late and have to rush through the morning. So within the next two months I will set my alarms earlier, snooze at most once or twice and force myself up earlier so that I have more time to prepare and drive to work as well as reach the office earlier and get a better parking spot. The tough bit about this is measuring this so the easiest way I think I can set is to start waking up at 7am for work.
- Spend less and save more! With my wedding coming up, I definitely need to save up for plenty of stuff and for furniture as well for when I move in to the apartment above Tropicana City Mall. 8 baby steps to achieving this? I guess I can start by spending less on photography equipment (actually I told myself not to spend on any equipment at the moment as I have everything I need and lots of training DVDs to watch). Stop spending on unnecessary gadgets and utilizing what I currently have at the moment.
- Lose more weight and maintaining it! Ok, with my wedding coming up, I definitely have to lose weight and make sure that I can fit into a tux. How do I achieve this? Run more often at work, at least once a week and start playing badminton with my old badminton mates on Tuesday nights. Probably get poisoned by them but I definitely need new badminton shoes. Target weight to achieve is 85kg, currently my weight now is over 100kg so its going to be a long journey.
- Be more disciplined! Yup, this is one area I feel I am totally weak in. I have to be more disciplined in everything that I do, it really doesn’t help that I am kind of a slacker hence I need to be more disciplined, disciplined in my personal life, disciplined at work and disciplined in my relationship with God. I can’t really put a KPI to this yet, need to give this a little more thought.
- Read more! I have a mountain of books which I happily bought and haven’t even opened them yet. To achieve this, I am going to slowly start by reading the book at least 5-10 minutes a day and as the weeks progress by, I will slowly increase my reading time. To make things interesting, I will write a book review on a monthly basis on what I have read recently.
- Blog more! Frankly, blogging is one thing I have been sort of consistent about, meaning that after 3 years I am still blogging but not as frequent as I would like. I am the type of guy who likes to laze about after a days work and by that I am simply too lazy to blog. So with resolution number 4, I want to be more disciplined in blogging as well. I do admire those other bloggers out there who can blog consistently. In terms of my creative writing skills, hopefully by blogging more, I can improve on it as well.
Well here are my 6 habits or new years resolution for 2010 that I have set for myself. Do keep me accountable ok?