Sunday 5 February 2017

Three Reasons New Years Day is a Bad Day to Start a New Habit

Only 9% of Americans who make a New Years resolution feel they were successful in accomplishing their goal or adopting their new habit.

That means that 91% of resolutioners believe they didn't accomplish their goal.  And yet year after year, we belly up to the same bar to request the same tonic.  Problem is, we're working against how the human brain works.

One of the biggest problems is the day itself; Jan 1.  It's the day after a holiday binge of change, disrupted routines and, in many cases, stress.

So the first issue is that our conscious brains are already fried from having to accommodate all the changes. Evenings filled with extra shopping, interacting with distant family members, and visiting Uncle Chuck is sleeping in your bed, so you're sleeping in the basement with the dog. 

Secondly, we're feeding our mind and bodies a buffet of booze and candy, along with Uncle Chuck's mysterious fruit cake... which is filled with booze and candy.  We give into our body's addictions which give us mental spikes and crashes, and reduce our over all resiliency.

The third issue is then that to our mind, we have FINALLY arrived at the point where we can finally "get back to" our old dependable habits of our  everyday, easy lives. And then we say to our brain "Wait, we're going to make one major change. Who's with me?!"

Basically, the best time to change a habit if when you're already changing something else bigger.  For example, when you move your commute route changes.  That would be the best time to also introduce NOT stopping in for the familiar but greasy fast-food breakfast on the way to work.

Even smaller habits, such as changing the batteries in your smoke detector.  Marketers are using the semi-annual time change as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detector.  Sorry Saskatchewan (which doesn't change its clocks)...