The new year is just days away. Have you completed a review of 2022 and set your intentions for 2023? The last step in actively creating a 2023 that's aligned with your purpose and priorities is identifying habits and small actions that will support moving toward your vision of the year ahead.
One of my favorite personal development authors is James Clear. His book Atomic Habits is one of the most impactful things I’ve read, ever. As he writes, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
A key element of moving toward your vision and intentions for the new year is getting clear on how to systematize behaviors which support that progress. For instance, if you have an intention of improving your strength and mobility, you will only make progress on realizing this intention if you create a habit that supports it.
In addition to identifying the habits that will move you toward your intentions, it is also important to think about the micro-actions that will help you get started with a new habit. If you want to acquire a new skill in the new year, what is the very first thing you need to do that will help you learn this new skill? Can you think of something that takes less than 5 minutes to move you forward?
Here’s what you'll need to identify the habits that support your vision and intentions for the next 12 months:
– Paper and pen
– 30 minutes of uninterrupted time
– Your list of intentions for 2023 from last week’s blog
To identify possible new habits, follow these steps:
1. Reread your domain-by-domain intentions for 2023.
2. Pick one domain to focus on at a time. (Domains covered in the first segment of this blog included personal, professional, home, family, relationships, health, spirituality, service, learning/personal development, but you can pick your own.).
3. For that domain, brainstorm on one habit that you can form to support moving toward that intention. For instance, if you want to improve your cardiovascular conditioning in 2023, one habit that could move you toward this intention would be to take a brisk 30-minute walk or run (depending on your current fitness) 3 times a week.
4. For each habit, what is the very next thing you need to do to get that habit started? David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” is another favorite book, coined the term “next actions”. Rather than thinking of ALL the things you need to do to establish a new habit, what is the very next micro action you need to do to move you in the right direction. Sticking with the cardiovascular fitness example above, possible next actions could include buying new shoes or downloading a tracking app or blocking time on your schedule. The exact content of the next action is not as important as thinking of something that you can and will do.
5. Repeat this process for each of your domains until you have a list of possible new habits for the new year.
6. Now drill down: which arena do you want to focus on first? Establishing 10 new habits at once is probably not feasible. Evaluate each habit based on how much time/energy it will take and pick 1 or 2 to focus on in January. What are your next actions for those 1-2 habits? Can you get your next actions done in the next week? If you do, how will you reward yourself?
7. If you use a planner, record your intention, your desired new habits and 1 next action per habit somewhere that you will review daily and weekly. Each time you complete a next action, you want to reward yourself. Then identify another micro-action to take you toward your new habit. If you aren't a planner person, something as simple as a post-it note on your mirror should work.
Please let me know if you have found this process useful. I will be sharing more about habit formation in the new year in our weekly emails and on social media. If improving your fitness level is one of your 2023 priorities, please contact us at Activcore Druid Hills so that our team can help you get started.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.