The new year has become a time when people examine their lives, see the gaps, and determine what things they’d like to be, do, and have in the upcoming year. Intentions are then excitedly and wishfully set. However, without the proper mindset and habits to help follow through with their goals, their willpower and momentum often fizzle out within a few weeks, days, or even minutes.
I’ve read books like “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, “The Miracles Morning” by Hal Elrod, and “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins, along with all sorts of content on routines and habits. But somehow, they were only able to take me so far. Knowledge is insightful, but implementation is what makes it powerful.
Through tons of trial and error, it all comes down to preparing and sustaining your positive mindset as you continue taking habit-forming actions.
These are the 7 before, during, and after mindset-related strategies you can implement to formulate and strengthen your newly-desired habits toward your goals:
1 – Get clarity first by defining your new habit and creating a plan.
The more thought out it is, the better you can formulate a strategy that’ll take you through the test of time.
- State your new habit using SMART goals: Make it specific, easily measurable, realistically achievable, relevant to your why, and setting a specific timed deadline.
- Define a strong why that’ll keep you going no matter what, especially in times when you’d talk yourself out of not doing it.
- Understand what this new habit would entail―time, sacrifices, financial costs, action steps, support required, etc.
- Address potential challenges ahead of time. Come up with a backup plan and secure any continual support you need.
- When you set a defined timeframe to implement your habits, start with a shorter, doable timeframe to make sure you claim success. After you’ve completed it, it’s easy to restart the timer and go ahead. You could then choose to extend that timeframe, too. Remember, it’s best to ensure success rather than biting off more than you can chew.
2 – Uncover any limiting beliefs that could counter your progress.
Your old mental programming will sabotage you. Do the required release work to create a stronger foundation for you to build your new habits upon.
- Meditate and visualize the habit you’d like to install. Write down any limiting beliefs that surface. Oftentimes, just by having the awareness and choosing to act differently can change how much those beliefs have a hold on you.
- Journal or leverage any release techniques you have to address and release what's holding you back. (If you'd like help with this, feel free to reach out to me via the contact form.)
3 – Decide to commit to it.
Make the decision to commit to this new habit for a doable set amount of time. Make this a non-negotiable for yourself by attaching your strong why. This is a crucial step. If this habit is just a choice, you could easily find a way out of it. But if this is a definite decision you’ve committed to, you’ve injected this habit with strong life force energy that’ll kickstart your momentum forward.
4 – Modify an old habit to install your newly desired one.
Instead of implementing a new habit from scratch, consider modifying an existing habit or replacing an undesirable one. When you attach this new habit to something you already do, it’ll make the action stickier.
- Commit to a simple when-this-then-that rule in your head, then implement it. For example: when I wake up in the morning (condition), instead of hitting snooze (old undesirable habit), I’ll sit up (new action).
- Break down the actions of the entire habit to the tiniest next steps possible. Instead of saying “get out of bed”, notice each step between waking up and before you get out of bed. Then replace or insert the new action in the appropriate spot within those series of events.
- Continual repetition will help it “stick” over time. Don't worry about breaking a streak. Just keep choosing to do it over and over again.
5 – Notice your thought patterns.
Be hyper aware of what thoughts are running through your head before, during, and after you take your habitual action.
- Do any additional release work.
- Have compassion for yourself. In your process of building this new habit, it’s ok to make a mistake, do it poorly, or even forget. Make the decision to take the action again. A habit requires repetition to move it from conscious incompetence (knowing you're not good at it) to unconscious competence (doing it well without much thought).
- Let go of any naysaying. When you put yourself down after making a mistake, that anchors blame, shame, and guilt into the counter belief that you can’t establish this new habit. If those negative thoughts come up, just let them float on by out of your head.
6 – Celebrate your progress.
Each time you implement your new habit, anchor in celebration. Attaching a positive feeling with the habit will motivate you to do it over and over again. Plus, this feeds into your empowering belief that you CAN do it.
- You can define a reward for achieving your goal after implementing this habit for a certain amount of time.
- Remember how far you’ve come. Sometimes we get so focused on narrowing the gap that we forget to stop and observe how much we’ve grown and achieved through this process. So set reminders and dedicate the time to appreciate yourself.
7 – Review and tweak.
As we all know, everything is just feedback. So take time to track and evaluate all the past data. Habit forming is a continual tweaking process to understand what is working for you and what isn’t. Once you have that understanding, then it’ll be easier to finetune the process toward your success.
Now that you’ve implemented your desired habit for your defined amount of time, recognize this massive achievement. You’re one step closer to who you want to be. You made the commitment and willed it to happen. Notice how you feel and think now, compared to before.
Here’s how I know I’ve evolved beyond my limiting beliefs: It’s those moments where new thought processes and greater possibilities pop up that make me go: “whoa, where did that come from? Who am I?” I’ve gone from “I would never do that” to “what if I DID do that?” to “that’s just what I do.” Celebrate your transformation as this is just the beginning of many more to come.
You are an accumulation of all your habits. So with this new year, determine what habits no longer serve you and what new habits you will install that’ll bring you that much closer to who you want to be, do, and have in this new year.
Cheers to a motivational start to a better you!
Hey! There's more to this if you're interested. Click here to read about my personal behind-the-scenes story that led to this post.
FYI… the featured image is by rakicevic nenad via pexels
January 4, 2023