3 Wonderfully Uncommon Reasons to Form Better Habits
As we race away into the New Year, consider these very personal and fundamental bonuses to making and sticking to your resolutions.
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Be more productive. Read faster. Be friendlier. Sleep better.
Welcome to the New Year, a time when people set resolutions to form better habits and lead better lives.
Understandably, a lot of the articles, videos and other resources about starting off the New Year focus on which habits are best and the steps you need to take to achieve them. They outline the goals, plans and actions we need to make our resolutions a reality.
If you’re looking for 10 tips on how to lose 100 pounds in 90 days, then this article isn’t for you. Instead, why not consider some of the underlying and lesser-talked about benefits of kicking bad habits and forming better ones this year.
1. Challenging your norms.
Why is it that you sneak sweets and junk food so often? How come you’re always so tired in the morning? Why can’t you get your butt to the gym?
If your answer for poor habits is “That’s just the way I am/the way things are” then you’re probably underestimating yourself. Stop. Think about your actions and why you’ve taken them perpetually over time. You might learn a lot.
Take personal finance advisor and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi for example. When he stopped to analyze himself and why he wasn’t going to the gym, he realized something simple that he’d never considered previously: His closet was in a different room, separate from his bedroom. Instead of getting up in the cold to put on clothes, it was easier to just stay in bed.
“Once I realized this, I folded my clothes and shoes the night before. When I woke up the next morning, I would roll over and see my gym clothes sitting on the floor. The result? My gym attendance soared by over 300%.”
Forming a new habit is your chance to examine your life—or at least one important aspect of it—and figure out why you’ve been making the decisions that lead to the habits you want or need to change.
2. Taking control.
We don’t have to be the sum of randomized actions and results, based simply on moral and civil codes. It’s up to each one of us individually to take control of our actions and maximize the results.
It’s the same in business. There’s nothing you do without careful research and consideration in order to maximize productivity, profits, etc.
You’re your own boss. You control your thoughts and actions; these things aren’t up to chance. Having the ability to make significant changes to your life is empowering, so long as you seize the opportunity.
Take control. Be the entrepreneur of yourself, 100 percent.
3. Achieving clearer self-awareness.
Some people say it takes only 21 days to form a new habit. Others say that just isn’t true. However long it takes, habit formation is a personal journey; one that requires desire, motivation, dedication, perseverance and change.
Habit formation takes you out of your comfort zone, to a place of self-discovery. If you’re getting into shape, how far can you push yourself physically? If you’re trying to eat better, how much temptation can you withstand?
Figure out what was required to succeed or why it was that you failed. Either way, you can obtain a clearer sense of your personal limits and, hopefully, how to achieve your goals—and sustain them—within your constraints.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” Not only to the world, but to yourself as well.
Jason Fell is director of native content for Entrepreneur, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.