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Sustainable Habits

It is that time of the year when New Year’s Resolutions will soon be created for 2021. Resolutions regarding picking up new habits is generally the common choice. Going to the gym, eating healthier, reading a book a day, are a couple of resolutions that are the most common on everyone’s list. However, we commit ourselves to these goals the first couple of weeks and then we stop. Why? Why do we do that? The best explanation for this reoccurring problem is due to the lack of sustainability and practicality. We can not simply start a habit and expect it to work from the start. As individuals, especially as a society, we have ad- opted a short attention span to almost everything we do. In this article, I will explain a technique that I’ve learned to sustain a habit. Sustainable habits are influenced by two things, a steady commitment and how specific the habit is. For ex- ample, if an individual wants to start a new habit of going to the gym, they should be as specific as possible. Instead of saying “I want to go to the gym this year” be specific and say, “I want to go to the gym at least once a week this year.”

Adding a certain measurement to your habit allows a sense of possibility and a way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of going each day. That is why being specific is important. To maintain that habit, you need steady commitment. If you don’t go to the gym in three days but, manage to go at least once like previous- ly mentioned then you are steadily committing to the habit without doubting yourself for not going. Being specific and having a steady commitment to your habit will allow you to gradually improve that habit. Going back to the exam- ple, you’ll get to a point where you might want to go to the gym more than once a week. What should you do? You should say to yourself, “at least 2 days a week I should go to the gym.” Gradually increasing the amount of times you do a habit in an effective way can cause that habit to be permanent. The “Two-Day” Technique is an effective and sustain- able method that is easy to follow. The main principle of the Two-Day technique is to not miss more than two days of doing your habit. For example, if you accomplish your habit on Monday but don’t do it on Tuesday or Wednesday on Thursday you must do the habit whether it is done with minimal or full effort. The technique prevents you from procrastinating. The repetition of practicing this technique will eventually help you make that habit permanent. Overall, taking accountability to sustain your new hab- it is up to you and you only. Blaming others, excuses, or procrastinating doesn’t help your goal to achieve a long- term habit. Remember to commit and be specific about your habit. Practice the Two-Day Technique. Eventually you’ll see yourself completing habits that you’ve wanted to do for a while now. Best of luck!

Photo: Christian Ochoa-Diaz

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