Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Less Resolution, More Habit-Building

Several years ago I discovered I was thirsty.

So I did what any thirsty person might do. I drank water. Not just once. But every day.

It's true. Recent studies show that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. We drink. But we don't drink the right things. We all more than likely need more water.

I read one of these studies a few years ago and decided to do something about it. In order to move from being one of the 75% to one of the 25% - drinking a glass of water when I thought about it wasn't going to solve the problem. I needed to change my habits. Thus began the "liter of water every morning habit." Every day the first thing I ingest is not corn flakes or coffee or bacon. I drink a liter of water.

The first week was different (not "hard," really. Just different).
I had to adjust my morning coffee ritual.
I had to think ahead a bit more.

But within a couple of weeks the habit was set, and a liter of water became a part of what I do.

Every day.

Now - it would be hard for me to not drink my water in the morning. It's habit.

 Coffee. A Habit. Not a resolution ... 

Coffee. A Habit. Not a resolution ... 

I didn't resolve to drink water. I made a habit of water.

New Year's resolutions are pretty much a waste. Only about 9% of people actually keep them. (According to this site, success is self-determined. I'm suspicious this number is even lower when the optimistic cognitive bias is taken into consideration.)

Your chances (and my chances) of being part of the 91% is pretty huge. The pressure is too great. The will-power required will be overwhelming.

Unless you create the right habits.

Habits change everything.

There’s nothing you can’t do, if you get the habits right.
— Charles Duhigg

For example - I could resolve to write on this blog every day for the next 365 days. I will probably fail in that endeavor.

Or - I could focus my energy to develop three daily habits.

  • write something.
  • edit something I've already written.
  • ship by posting something on my blog


As Jeff Goins elaborates here, focus on the process more than the product.

Every day.

We don't need to resolve more. We need to habitualize more.

Read Charles Duhigg's book "The Power of Habit" for more insight on how habits work inside the human brain. Fascinating stuff.


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