Perhaps this year, you want to make sure you go to the gym every morning or after work. Perhaps you want to eat healthier.
Where do I start?
That is the question that arises in people's minds.
Besides writing out a concrete way to achieve the goal, a good way to maintain a new habit is to reward yourself with positive reinforcement after you complete your task.
Charles Duhigg in "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business" explains the reason why Febreze sold amazingly well after the marketing concept was changed. The fresh smell was a reward for the person who finished cleaning; thus, this conditioning helped link the feelings of accomplishment with ones of positivity when people used this product.
Ever notice that when you start exercising, you also eat healthier? Thus, if your goal is to get fit and you enjoy drinking a smoothie, visualize how you'll enjoy the smoothie after your gym workout and savor the sweet taste of it after you exercise. You totally earned it, and with that order of action, you've made the smoothie your reward, which will reinforce the habit of you working out and feeling awesome after every workout.
Besides giving yourself that stereotypical 21 days for building a habit, keeping oneself accountable with a journal can help. Reflection and looking at one's own progress can be a rewarding thing on its own to hone self-discipline and awareness. Not every day will be easy to carry out one's goals, but if you can hold yourself accountable for it and slowly work through it, you may be able to identify patterns to further modify your approach to achieve your goals. For those of us that need an extra boost of accountability to keep up our goals, having a buddy to check-in with or to complete relevant goals with may also help.
Less is also more when setting goals. It's too often that one may list many vague goals. The feeling of having so many goals may be a burden to the mind. Look into yourself, and highlight ones you want to prioritize. That way when you achieve what you need to-- even if it's just three goals-- you know you have completed three tasks in the year with the type of discipline that you are proud of.
Wishing you all a fruitful year ahead!