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Make Habits, Not Resolutions

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A wise man once told me the true benefit of achieving a goal is not the achievement itself, but the lifelong habits you’ve created to achieve your goal.

So, as we go through this new year, let’s not just make resolutions—let’s create habits to shape our future. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are often too vague and require more specific, measurable goals. Furthermore, resolutions are often made with an “all or nothing” mentality, which can lead to feelings of failure and defeat. This is why so many of us fall short of the goals we lay out for the new year.

But what if we approached the new year differently? What if we focused on building new habits instead of making generalized
resolutions? Habits are the foundation upon which our lives are built. They shape our thoughts, our behaviors, and our actions. And unlike resolutions, habits are formed through consistent, daily effort.

Too many people go through life with what I call the “shotgun” approach. They have too wide of an aim. When they fall short,
they get frustrated and blame everything but themselves. Oftentimes, the issue is that they’ve set the wrong goals and haven’t focused on developing good, consistent habits.

But where do we start in our “Habit Creating” journey? I’m a big fan of Habit-Stacking, something I read about in James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. Here’s how it works: If there’s a habit you want to adopt, stick it to an existing habit. It could be as small as washing your dishes after eating dinner instead of letting everything pile up in the sink.

Dirty dishes aside, everyone has habits that make up their everyday routines, and you have so many opportunities to habit-stack throughout your day. For example, whenever I go to the gym, I lift weights. However, I wanted to start incorporating cardio into my workout. So, what I do now is stack cardio as part of my gym routine. After I lift weights, I jump on the treadmill and do a two-mile run. Another positive habit I’ve developed is making sure I devote the first few items of the day to myself—I focus on body, mind, and spirit. An early morning workout, while listening to an audiobook, and reading scripture as I cool down. This allows me to take care of myself first so I can take care of others.

Too many entrepreneurs get so fixated on improving their businesses that their health begins to suffer both mentally and
physically. They forget about tried-and-true, commonly-known tactics to better their health—such as sleeping eight to nine hours a night, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and so on. And, even if they do all that, there are still poor habits they can replace with healthier ones.

For example, maybe you have a habit of playing video games when you get stressed out. Maybe you like to collect legos and put together some masterpiecees with them (I’m too afraid of stepping on them to claim the same!). Those are certainly worthwhile endeavors—especially if they help you to de-stress—but make sure you’re not letting those hobbies become vices instead of recreational activities.

A work-life balance is super important, and this is especially the case as an entrepreneur. When it comes to the “life” piece, it’s worth leading a life that’s conducive to our work mindset. Perhaps you could replace fifteen minutes of watching “Gilmore Girls” with meditating. Maybe you could hire a personal development coach and meet with them for an hour every week. Maybe you could start doing therapy to make sure you’re not bottling up emotions. The list goes on; just don’t forget to prioritize those personal needs that often go on the back burner.

Overall, this year, I urge you to begin with the end in mind. As we go into 2023, I want you to think about what you want your life to look like a year from now. From there, you can start to reverse-engineer getting to where you want to be by creating the right habits to improve every facet of your daily life.

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