Feb 8
Personal Growth & Finding the Support to Build New Habits

Personal Growth & Finding the Support to Build New Habits

We often kick off the year with a fresh list of goals and resolutions: read a book a month, work out every day, visit a new country; but often these goals fall to the wayside only a few weeks later. What gives?

On average, only 9% of Americans who make resolutions actually complete them. How can you be a part of that small but accomplished group? It can be hard to stick to resolutions, and goals in general, but there are a number of tried and true ways to remove these barriers to success.

Below are some practical methods and shortcuts to help you stay on track with the changes and habits that mean the most to you, and a look into how Era Living supports its residents pursuing healthy changes in their life. 

The Trick to Goal Setting: 1% Better Every Day

With goals we often want to think BIG, with a hard focus on the end result. While it’s good to keep future outcomes in mind, too much focus can make the journey toward our goal appear overwhelming and unapproachable.  

In this case, increments are our friend. While the overall goal might be big, the daily steps to achieve it should be small and easy to complete. As you’ll read below, the best goals start off with only 2 minutes of work a day. The thought behind that is if you can get 1% better every day for a year, that’s 37 times better by the end of the year. 

A big reason the 1% rule works so well is because habits are compounding; goal setting is ultimately about building new habits, and habits are ingrained through repetition and consistency. 

The cumulative effect over time is what eventually meets the goal, with each day building upon yesterday’s practice. To take action on your personal goals, break them into little pieces. Then the journey becomes doable, and enjoyable. 

How to Break Big Goals Into Increments:

    • Learning Goals– To gain knowledge and learn new skills, try reading, watching or researching something new for 30 minutes each day. Continuing to learn and apply new skills keeps the brain healthy through all stages of life. Era Living supports lifelong learning through monthly educational and information seminars. Hosted within our communities, these activities bring the community together while gaining new skills and knowledge. 
    • Health Goals– Regular exercise decreases stress while increasing energy levels and overall well-being. Start out simple by adding 15 minutes of physical activity to your day, such as walking, jogging, stretching or yoga. Known to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases, even small amounts of exercise can have big results. Era Living has fitness centers and swimming pools conveniently located within communities, bringing residents that much closer to tackling their health goals; we also have life enrichment outings scheduled multiple times through the month, including nature walks and tours that keep being active fun. 
    • Mindfulness Goals– Make room for expansion by meditating for 10 minutes a day. Mindfulness produces many amazing upsides including stress relief, reduced depression and pain alleviation. Era Living periodically hosts meditation classes for both beginners and long-time meditators. Feel free to come and try it out!
    • Creative Goals– Set aside 15-30 minutes a day to pursue creative hobbies, such as painting, drawing, writing or playing music. Numerous studies link art to both physical and mental health improvements. Era Living communities have sizable rotating art collections that are carefully curated and displayed throughout our residences. Are you an artist? Perhaps you should consider submitting- resident art is shown alongside our permanent collection, putting a smile on everyone’s face. 

Implementing New Habits With Consistency 

You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.

–James Clear in “Atomic Habits”

It takes 66 days to form a new habit, on average. Aiming for 2.5 months of consistency increases the likelihood that a pattern will become the norm. Even the most attainable goals remain difficult to reach if we don’t form the necessary habits to maintain them.

The most important aspect of this framework is showing up daily. Making the time to tackle a small part of your goal, on a daily basis, will lead to surprising results over time.

If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said psychiatrist and author Dr. Michael Bennett. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.

The 2-Minute Rule

The 2-minute rule is a quick route toward ingraining new patterns. It’s quite simple: when starting a new habit that appears daunting, scale it down to a two-minute version. 

With only two minutes to complete, this ensures you are able to successfully fulfill the task on a daily basis. Going over the 2 minutes is fine, and is often what ends up happening, but make sure to have a bare minimum practice as a means of habitualizing the action itself. 

 Track Your Progress

Aim for the long game. Tracking and other ways of logging progress are helpful to maintain continuity and, more importantly, allow you to see trends within actions and plan better for future success. Metrics that show how you’ve grown over time will fill you with a sense of joy and accomplishment.

Some sage advice: Never miss a daily goal twice and don’t judge yourself if you do slip up now and again. After all, tomorrow is a new day.

Visualize the Outcome

To fulfill your personal potential, start to visualize yourself as a person who has already ingrained your current goals. How is their life different? How do they feel now that they have maintained these new, different habits? What upsides have come from this change?

Letting go of an identity that may be associated with negative traits can be difficult as our brains rely on consistency even if it does not serve us. Goals become more realistic and achievable once we implement lasting habit changes and learn to work with our current brain state as opposed to against it.

Habit Stacking

Another shortcut is habit stacking, or planning the new goal around a habit that already exists in your life. For example, if your goal is to increase dental hygiene, you could begin flossing every night after brushing your teeth. Since you already brush your teeth every evening, adding flossing afterwards is a logical way to stack those two habits. Soon you won’t even have to think twice as both brushing and flossing quickly becomes the norm.  

To learn how Era Living encourages residents to achieve their goals of a healthier lifestyle, please visit us online at www.eraliving.com or schedule an in-person tour. We would love to have you.

Era Living senior living communities are more than just senior apartments. Our retirement community meets a range of assisted living and independent living needs specific to each individual resident. From luxury senior living with options for for independent living, assisted living and memory care, our team of professionals can help make senior housing into a complete and fulfilling lifestyle for you or your loved ones.

 

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