Want to start a new habit? Start tiny. Be ready to fail. A lot.

NOTE from Editor: I had full intention of posting a blog on new year’s resolutions, with a theme around “start small and built it up”. While researching, I stumbled across a friend’s blog who had just written a similar piece. In the spirit of cooperation, I’ve received his blessing to share his post here on leadingwright. Hope you enjoy, and thank you Brian Beckcom for the insight!

With the new year upon us, many of you are hoping to achieve some New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, the statistics of people actually achieving New Year’s resolutions are shockingly small. Why?

Perhaps because once our brains are hardwired with a particular habit, it is almost impossible to “get rid” of that habit. That habit has literally become part of the physical wiring of our brain.

But people can – and do – change. And people can – and do – meet their New Year’s resolutions. The obvious question is, why do most people ultimately fail but a few succeed?

I recently read an awesome story about how to change your habits. First, you have to understand that you’re not really changing your habits. Instead, you’re forming new habits that override the old ones. Here are some tips on creating amazing new habits:

1. Start so small you cannot fail.
2. Work on the small habit until it becomes a ritual.
3. Make continual small additions to the habit until you’ve obtained your goal.

For example, let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to get up at 6 a.m. every morning instead of 7 a.m.. Rather than try to immediately start waking up at 6 a.m., which dooms you to failure at the outset, start by getting up at 6:50 a.m. for one month. Just 10 minutes earlier. Then, once that becomes an ingrained habit, go for a month where you get up at 6:40 a.m.. Keep building on that habit until you are getting up automatically at 6 a.m..

Also – and this is really important to keep in mind – YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. A LOT. You have to understand that you will not be able to break a long-term bad habit instantly. And you have to give yourself some slack when you fail. Failure for some is an excuse to quit. Failure for others – you and me – is an excuse to learn and grow.

So realize that you’re forming new habits, start as small as you can, build on your success, and when you fail use that as an opportunity to learn and grow.

– Brian Beckcom (Check out Brian’s blog at https://www.vbattorneys.com/briansblog/ )

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