In just a few short hours we will all welcome a brand new year! Welcome to 2018! Every single day that we open up our eyes and find ourselves alive is a great day to start making better choices. A new opportunity is literally in front of us each day but New Years Day has traditionally been the day when most people actually sit down and think about self improvement. Some people may even go as far as to write specific goals, which is always a good idea when starting any type of project.
The important thing to keep in mind is that bad habits can't really be gotten rid of, they must actually be replaced. For instance, if you have a habit of getting some crazy high calorie snack or drink at a fast food place every day, the pattern and the craving have already been created. If you decide that you are not going to do this ritual anymore then willpower will have to be involved. Studies have shown that we humans only have a tiny amount of will power available to us each day. We only have a small amount of will power available, just a few minutes a day at best, and most of us spend that tiny amount of will power just being civilized while at work. Therefore when it is time to make a change in habit or lifestyle, at the appointed hour, when we usually interrupt our day to perform a comforting ritual such as getting our favorite snack or drink, it can be just about impossible to say no to ourselves. By then our will power which was fresh when we first opened our eyes has been completely zapped. It is literally all gone. At that point life just becomes so much easier if we just just slip into "the usual" routine. And then we lose confidence in our ability to make changes, no matter how badly they are needed, with each one of these willpower failures.
So this New Years Day, instead of giving yourself a bunch of "not going to's" and working super hard to muster the will power to make them stick, try instead to REPLACE those comforting rituals with healthier habits. I will get a green smoothie with pineapple instead of my favorite mocha madness. The ritual, the act of going to get a smoothie, that brings me so much comfort hasn't changed, just the flavor of the smoothie. My husband used to eat potato chips while watching television in the evening. Now he eats grapes or sunflower seeds. The ritual of enjoying a tasty snack while watching television hasn't changed, just the contents of the snack.
I would encourage you to try to think of ways to turn your not so healthy habits into healthy habits. Try to make your comforting rituals a new and important part of this awesome New Year.. And HELLO 2018!!! Happy New Year!