The Science Behind Starting a New Habit

posted: 01/03/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Sneakers, towel, water and dumbbells. Cucumber sliced symbol of the new year. Diet 2018.

From eating better, working out, and saving money, this time of year is all about making and often breaking those New Year's resolutions. Even though we really want to stick to our goals, it's just so difficult to start a new habit and it is so easy to break them. So what do scientist say about starting and keeping new habits? Apparently it can be done and it starts by focusing your thinking on creating new behaviors and thought patterns. In order to turn your New Year's resolution into an actual habit, you have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.

So how do you do that? Here's five steps scientist say will help start this process.

  1. Focus on only one resolution at a time. Sorry "Plan to drink more water," but scientist agree, you are more likely to be successful and achieve a new habit when you put your energy into one resolution at a time. So skip three resolutions and aim for just one.
  2. Baby Steps- Make small goals that you can use as check-ins rather than hefty goals that are hard and often unattainable. So if you are trying to pay down debt, set a weekly goal rather than a six month goal.
  3. Celebrate- When you meet those Baby Steps---celebrate your accomplishments!
  4. Get a Friend to Help- You are more likely to change your behavior if you have an accountability buddy. Plus if your goal is to work out more, working out with a friend is always better.
  5. Live in the Present- Think about what you can do today or right now towards reaching you goal. Don't focus your energy on the past and your past decisions. If you live in the present, you can make positive steps today and every day towards creating this new and positive habit.