A Hack for Habit Forming

Do you struggle with new years resolutions? Worse still, do you avoid them due to a fear of not achieving them? If so, allow me to share with you one of my favourite hacks.
January and February are traditionally full of new intentions. Dreams of meal planning, exercising, or meditating daily are common. However, new year’s resolutions are easier said than done. Creating a new routine requires commitment and time – 66 days on average by some estimates. Habit-forming is more difficult for some than it is for others, and that’s ok.
Habit stacking is one of my favorite strategies to share with clients in my Gold Coast psychology practice. It involves combining an existing daily habit (think simple things like driving home, eating dinner or brushing your teeth) with your new, desired behavior. When you “add on” to your current routine, you are already half-way towards the new behaviour, and it feels more like an adjustment or tweak than a whole new routine.

How to Habit Stack
This week, choose a routine that you already and attach your new habit to it. Want to hit the gym? try going on the way to or from work. Want to start stretching daily? Consider doing it while you watch TV in the evening. Want to drink more water? Have a full glass before each meal.
And remember – don’t be hard on yourself if you skip a day here or there. Just keep getting back on that horse.

What is your favourite habit stack? Let us know in the comments.

How to Make a Successful New Year’s Resolution – It’s never too late!

Note: Do this on PAPER – in a virtual or physical notebook that won’t get lost!

Firstly, choose something important to YOU and think seriously about specifically what the desired end result is for YOU. For example, “the GP says I need to loose weight” may not be as motivating as “To have more energy to play footy with my kids.”

-Be specific about the change you want to make. For example – “On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will be dressed and ready for 45 minutes of exercise commencing 6.30am (Commencing 1 Feb).”

-PLAN ahead so you know what steps you need to take to succeed. Take the required steps immediately if you can, otherwise write out your plan with “due dates.” For example: a) Enter into the calendar or set a reminder to put your exercise clothes by the bed on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights (do this NOW). b) Set an alarm for 6.15am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (do this NOW) c) Purchase new running shoes by 13 Jan. d) Commence first run at the Broadwater (Jan 15).

-Tell someone who will cheer you on, support you and keep you accountable.

-Be flexible. If the plan is not working, don’t feel bad or give up. Consider opening up the notebook and revising accordingly. For example, if my 45 minute run 3 X week was just not happening, maybe I need to “step it back” so that I can work up to it. That might mean changing from a run to a walk, dropping to once or twice a week, or changing the start time. Step it back to whatever it takes to get started and get a “win on the board”. Even if that means just getting out the door for the first week – you can always move up from there.

Remember – you own your resolutions – they do not own you. If you are having trouble with your resolution, go back to the drawing board and see if you can step it back a bit to make it more realistic. In doing so, you can either break it down into a few gradual steps, or make it a 1 or 3 month goal with a review at the end. The most common problem I see people make with resolutions (besides not setting them all) is setting lofty, unrealistic goals and then hiding away from them. Don’t be that person 🙂


A Quick Guide to (Re)setting Effective New Year’s Resolutions for 2024.

Haven’t got around to your new year’s resolutions? Neither have most of us. Let’s start now!

A “resolution” is a commitment to do something on a regular basis. New Year’s resolutions typically start on 1 January in line with the start of the new calendar year. But really, you can set and review your resolutions any time you like.

The difference between new years RESOLUTIONS and GOALS is that goals relate to a specific achievement Resolutions are commitments to make a change in habits. Resolutions relate to how you want to live your life. To help get you started, I have listed below three of the main categories of resolutions.

HEALTH & FITNESS resolutions
Exercise and nutrition can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, which ultimately can help you feel better about yourself. For example, you could try adding vegies and protein to each meal. Or start your day with a fibrous cereal and / or some fruit.
Consider trying a new kind of exercise, without worrying if you will be good at it. There are so many different types of exercise to suit your abilities and interests. Take some time to think outside what you are used to.

FINANCIAL resolutions can help you take control of your financial situation and give you more clarity on where your money is actually going. For example, Consider taking some time to focus on budgeting. Consider setting up a budget for your regular expenses, establishing a savings fund for a special purchase or holiday and putting away a certain amount per week or using a mobile mobile app or spreadsheet to help plan and track your expenses.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT resolutions help you feel more fulfilled and grow as a person in various ways. They can help you find purpose, give you a new perspective on life or just bring you more joy.
For example, take up a new hobby just for fun, without worrying if you will be good at it. Join a volunteering group. Or commit to researching a topic of interest for 20 minutes per day.

What other categories of resolutions are important to you?

Later I will provide a guide on how to actually make a resolution and keep it, so stay tuned…