by Megan McDonough

I can’t stand New Year’s resolutions. They have abysmal rates of success, according to the research and in the lab of my own life. Around the holidays, chaos reigns, with more food and family and less normalcy. New habits are launched with fiery determination and then wither into nothingness by February. It’s more stable (albeit less dramatic) to weave positive habits into the fabric of everyday life. Here’s a simple recipe to methodically and constantly build good habits.

First, when you’re thinking about a change you want to make, give yourself time and space to take in new perspectives. Learn what you can; do your research. What are the experts saying? What are the ways you could go about it? Who else has done what you’re thinking of doing? Then test it out. Try it on for size. How does it work in the laboratory of you? See if it works, or what tweaks might work best for you. Then go all in. Live that habit consistently for at least 30 days (it takes at least that long for a habit to stick).

In a nutshell:

Take it in.
Test it out.
See what works, then live it throughout.

We call this the Wisdom Triangle, and it’s how we build courses at Wholebeing Institute. In fact, we have this in mind right now as we redesign the Certificate in Positive Psychology (look for Module 1 coming out in March). It’s not just about content, it’s about building a path to help you reach towards your ideal self. All learning and habits should support that aspirational view you hold for yourself.

Habits are best when they fit into the rhythm of life, rather than being force-fed to conform to social norms. Change is a constant. You are shaping who you are in each moment though your actions, choices, and thoughts.

Every day is a new day. Every day is a New Year.

May this day, and this year, be your best yet.

Start your year off right by building new, positive habits. Check out our 30-Day Practice library.

Megan Megan McDonough is CEO of Wholebeing Institute, an educational organization co-founded with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. WBI is committed to spreading ideas and practices that can help individuals and groups live life to its fullest.

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