Welcome to 2016! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? I haven’t. I don’t usually make resolutions, as I prefer to change or improve things as I go along, all year long. For instance, partway through 2015, I realized that I seemed to be spending a lot of time in front of the computer. I was beginning to feel a bit podgy. Exercise (other than daily dog walks—more like strolls) was taking a back seat. Therefore, I decided to add daily exercise to my routine. But the problem with making a decision, is one also has to carry it out.
Days would go by and I would suddenly realize I had forgotten to exercise! I have a beautiful Concept 2 rowing machine that was just sitting idle, waiting for me to get back in the saddle. How to remember to get up from the computer and get to work? Well, it has to become a habit.
Here’s where I think most resolutions fall flat. A decision made is not necessarily part of the routine, a habit, and so the resolution fades away. I needed to create a habit. The first step was to always work out at the same time of day, make it a routine. I decided that 11:30 am was perfect as I had done a few hours of computer work and it was also just before lunchtime—no need to go back to the computer afterwards. In the afternoon, when I move to the art-making part of my day, I knew I would never interrupt a painting session to exercise, so I would already be set up for failure if I waited until then.
Secondly, I needed to remember to get up and go! So I made a post-it note and stuck it on my computer where I would see it all morning long. And it worked! As 11:30 approached each day I would think, “Oh yeah, I have to exercise.” And off I’d go. As the weeks rolled by, it became ingrained to get up and exercise at 11:30 and I no longer needed the note. It was now a habit.
So, rather than asking if you’ve made any resolutions, I’ll ask, do you have any new habits you want to instill for 2016?