Ease into your old and new habits

So how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Hanging in there or having a rough start?

I can proudly announce that yesterday, I survived a workday on 1.5 hour of sleep, then ate a burger for dinner, and then slept from 9 PM to 6 AM.

For someone who set the goal to wake up earlier and to return to eating healthier, not the greatest start of 2023. Logically, so. I had given myself a break from building and maintaining these habits during the holiday period. So it’ll take me some time to ease into these habits again.

Back in 2021, I wrote a blog post on why I hate setting New Year’s Resolutions. It’s because many people (including me back in 2020) think they have to gotten rid of their bad habits right when January starts. We often think that we have to give our 100% and nail our new habits right away.

And that’s the thing with building new habits and maintaining old habits: you won’t be at your best from the beginning. In fact, you will struggle, especially during the first weeks. And you won’t see visible growth right from the start.

This is why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work for me: when I still set them, I still forced myself to be a new person right away, punished myself for the little mistakes I made, and then I would feel discouraged and stop after two weeks.

Whereas in fact, unlearning old habits and learning new ones is a hard and long-lasting process.

I always have to think of the 1% principle, which I read about in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. If you grow just one percent every day, you’ll be almost 38 times better by the end of 2023. But if you pick that same formula, it takes you 70 days to be twice as better as you are right now.

Building new habits and maintaining them is a long-term process, so you could better ease yourself into building and maintaining them.

Yesterday I slept only 1.5 hours, today I woke up at 6.10 AM (instead of the 5.30 AM goal I am setting for myself), and yesterday I ate a burger instead of cooking something healthy.

Let’s see where we’re at in 70 days.