Every year people make the usual promises to themselves or other people and drop them within the first few weeks. We are creatures of habit and because we so easily fall into our own routines, it’s much more effective to work on developing habits than making one-off promises about the changes we want in our lives. It’s important to be mentally, emotionally and physically ready to do some hard work to make those changes. It takes on average 66 days (or more depending on your goal) to develop a new habit.
I know people who did motorcycle school in Canada and were taught by champion racers. They said it’s much easier for them to teach newbies than people who have been riding for years. Why? Because it’s harder to get experienced riders to unlearn bad riding habits than to get new riders to start with good riding habits.
In Western culture, especially in high-consumer communities, we’ve been socialized to expect things to be easily fixed or satisfy our indulgences whenever we please. We can cure our colds with pills, grab fast food whenever we’re hungry or share all of our pictures with our friends with a few clicks. But as soon as something takes more work and sustained effort, people easily give up. There are plenty of times I have been one of those people because I often like things to happen quickly.
One of the smartest people I know always says, “If something comes too easy, it’s not worth it because anyone can have it. Things that are worthwhile take more effort and patience.” Losing 20 pounds, wanting to be more zen, spending more time with family, or finding a more fulfilling job are not easy tasks. But doing whatever you need to do to fulfill those goals will be worthwhile in the end.
One of my goals is to continue to be more present with people and more zen overall. So to do this, I need to make a habit of breathing more slowly and consciously on a daily basis, getting lost in music that I enjoy and making sure I don’t react strongly to my environment by giving into anger or impatience. This is not an easy goal but I’m working towards developing these habits.
No matter what goals you have in your life, don’t make a resolution. What new habits will you form to make it happen?
If you have any goals you’ve achieved, please send the to me and I would love to share them in a future post.