January is here! It’s time to break your New Year’s Resolution!

Jan2014

Photo by danielmoyle

What is this?  Is The Habit Habit encouraging people to break their New Year’s Resolutions?  Shouldn’t this website encourage and celebrate the tradition of self improvement through commitment to positive change at the start of a new year?  Isn’t this what making habits is all about?

Sadly, no.

You Will Fail (likely)

We are just calling it like we see it. According to Statistic Brain only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions succeed.  More than one third fail before the end of January.  More disappointingly, a quarter of all New Year’s Resolutions fail during the first week!  Why would anyone participate in such a consistently unsuccessful activity?

Advantage of New Year’s Resolutions

There are many theories as to why there is so little success to keeping New Year’s Resolutions.  At The Habit Habit we believe that the failure rate is a result of the very nature of the resolutions themselves.  The fundamental difference between New Year’s Resolutions and all other efforts to develop new habits is the timing.  Why wait until January 1 to make a change to your life?  Several people have told us that the benefit of this timing is the ease in which they can think about how long it has been since they started the change (for example, if it is July, they can easily think it has been over six months since they stopped smoking).

Disadvantage of New Year’s Resolutions

This benefit to change at the beginning of the year is greatly surpassed by a significant drawback.  Making the change on January 1 will almost always mean waiting until January 1.  Desires for change do not magically appear on only one day of the year.  These intentions to improve happen on any day.  By making the commitment to change on January 1, you have to wait.  You must delay your change until the next year.  This is known as procrastination!

The worst thing about procrastination is that it either creates a new habit, or further develops an old one.  If you resolve to start exercising, but wait until next year, you are habitually not exercising for several months.  This gives you several additional months of bad habit to overcome with a new habit.  This is a mistake.  Way make things harder for the novelty of New Year’s Resolution (particularly as they have such a poor success rate?).

Change Now!

If the desire for change happens to coincide with Jan 1, go ahead!  If you have made a New Year’s Resolution this year, we do not want you to abandon it.  Keep at it!  Use all the tools for positive habit making to make this year’s change stick.  However, from now on, if you want to make a change make it right away. Never delay change.  Never make a habit of putting change off.  Never deliberately make New Year’s Resolutions.

Waiting for next year is the opposite of making a habit of making habits.  Right now is always the best time for change.  Change without delay is the first step to “The Habit Habit“!

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