The New Year arrived with great fanfare, and you began an exercise program, a diet regimen, a book reading class, or Dr. Vaught’s leadership course. Whatever choice you made, as time went by, your commitment waned. You may have said, “I just don’t have the time.”
We are all governed by time. How fast does time pass? I know I may date myself, but I’m reminded of an old T.V. commercial when a man talks with an owl and says, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop? Then the owl responds, “Let’s see… one… two… three,” and eats the lollipop. Then the commercial ends saying, “The world may never know.” The commercial reminds me of the concept of time; no one never knows where the time has gone. Ok, probably not a very good analogy, so let’s get back to the matter at hand. Four to five weeks into the New Year, life again begins to beat you down. Work schedules increase, long afternoon meetings appear, the calendar fills, classes begin again, hours of study are required, and you tell yourself, “I do not have time.” Suddenly, a month passes, two months, perhaps three months have passed. No results! Now what?
Make the most of time. Be honest and set realistic goals. Sounds like familiar comments from others? In her news article entitled, “This Is Why You Can Never Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions,” Columnist Carolyn Gregoire writes about making decisions about how you will live your life. The answer may be hidden in a single word “habit.” Exercising good habits is a motivator in which one gains a sense of comfort and tough mindedness in self and one’s abilities. Gregoire (2014) quotes Charles Duhigg, a reporter and author of The Power of Habit, stating, “Routines and habits are a powerful force underlying much of our behavior.” After a brief review of the literature, Duhigg (as cited by Gregoire) found that nearly half or 50% of daily decisions are habit-driven. Not to oversimplify its significance, but if one develops a habit of doing anything, such as bathing, brushing teeth, or putting on deodorant, it no longer becomes a task, rather a lifestyle change and ultimately will no longer an issue of time.
Duhigg writes about five evidenced-based steps to re-ignite a not so old resolution. I will give you the first step: “Make it an action, not a goal.” Remember, these steps can apply to any situation, not just exercise. Take a look at the remaining steps here.
Reference: Gregoire, C. (2014). This is why you can never keep your new year’s resolutions. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/01/the-psychology-of-making-_n_4475502.html .
David J. Wright, MA., MSW
WKPIC Doctoral Intern