Behaviour scientists have not presented research on how long it takes to break a habit. However, they all agree that it takes an average of 18 to a maximum of 254 days to pick up one. This therefore means that for you who has been on holiday for a month during the festivities, there is a chance that you have picked a new habit that will wipe out a routine that gave you your success last year. While it is common to struggle to adjust after the long holidays, here is a simple proven guide that will help you get ahead of the curve by quickly getting you back to your well-known routine.
Set a daily goal
Having goals is a good way to focus your attention on the things that are important at the beginning of the year when everything needs your attention. In the short term, this will help you create a vision of your entire day before you walk right into it. Daily goals do not have to be complicated in nature. Here is an example of a SMART daily goal. 'Get five new clients in January by setting aside 30 minutes daily when I arrive in the office to send out 10 email pitches.'
Remember when setting these daily goals 'less is more.' This means that the fewer daily goals you set for yourself, the more you are likely to accomplish in a given day. Studies have revealed that on average four to five daily targets are enough while also showing that those who set a smaller number of goals each day (3 goals) were the ones who consistently had a higher success rate.
Small daily wins
At the beginning of the year, everyone around you is focused on the bigger goal; getting back to the groove as fast as possible. Without taking into consideration that you took a break and that your body and mind need to adjust, getting back to the energy and rhythm levels of the previous year in the early days of the year will be a struggle. In this process, one thing you should never overlook is the need to celebrate small wins. These are often overlooked but are crucial toward getting you back to where you left it last year or even act as a stepping block to achieving even bigger goals this year. So you want to get ahead of the curve this year? Start by recognizing and celebrating daily achievements. Small wins are our daily achievements and I guarantee that this can profoundly improve your motivation, confidence, and self-perception. So this January, celebrate responding to all the emails that have been clogging your inbox since last year, celebrate solving that technical issue that has hindered your team's performance in the office or even leading the team meeting successfully!
So you are beating those daily goals and finally, the small wins are appearing in your output daily. So what do you do next? I want to introduce you to a concept called 'rewarding yourself' I know you are probably thinking, 'Who has the money to buy themselves expensive food and gifts in this economy? 'Relax. Rewarding yourself doesn't mean spending the change that you have left for transport after squandering all your cash during the festivities. This could be as simple as finding time to watch two episodes of that show you have always wanted to watch reading twenty pages of that book that you have always said you would read since you bought it, taking a long bath, or spending time with your loved ones. Put simply repeated self-encouragement will lead you to boost your confidence to take on more challenging tasks and you'll feel more prideful and excited about your efforts.
In the process of trying this new routine, not everything is going to work out for you as planned. Some days will be a hard nut for you to crack; and in this period it is very easy for you to feel frustrated, making you want to lash out. In this moment, all you are doing is dwelling on things that are not working for you which in most cases means that the little that is working for you in that instance is ignored. In the long term, you prevent yourself from achieving what you want by just a simple mistake of choosing to be rigid.
Practicing ways to increase your mental flexibility helps you stay calm in challenging situations. This in the long term allows you to cope with difficulties more effectively. So as the year begins to get ahead you need to accept there are things you can not change, always focus on the present, see the bigger picture in every challenge, take some risks, and let your values guide you.
Stay energized and avoid temptation
That gym subscription will come in handy in this period when you need your body to be at its best as you chase those goals this year. It will not hurt to have a can of Red Bull next to you to give you that extra kick needed to complete a day well. Above all, please avoid the temptation of 'not doing .'