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January 03, 2023 8 min read

In this article:

  • Why choose sustainable habits over hacks
  • The 1% better everyday philosophy
  • Atomic Habits: The habits holy grail
  • Your 1% better everyday cheat sheet

If you’re anything like me, your end-of-the-year shopping cart always includes a planner for the upcoming year with the cutest design available. It’s motivation, right?  Inspired by the manifesting guide you saw on TikTok earlier that day, you fill out the first page with all the goals and objectives you’ve set for your future self in the next year - the future self that is going to be 100% more organized, responsible, fitter, productive, and sleeps 8.5 hours every single night…no pressure.  Does this sound like you? 

January rolls around and suddenly, all your motivation and willpower don’t equate to action the way you thought they might. As weeks go by, you feel like you’ve failed yourself by ordering your third takeout this week and letting another bag of greens in your fridge go to waste. You get the dreaded notification that your screen time is up 20% from last week and that you’ve failed to close the rings on your Apple watch.

By June, the cute planner ends up in the trash and you’re back to reactive weekly resets rather than long-term goals. The savings you benefited from by investing in an annual gym membership instead of incurring monthly fees has largely gone untouched, and you’re feeling like you’ve betrayed the version of yourself you earnestly set out to obtain. Depressing isn’t it?

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. From my own experience, I’d say that expecting your 2023-self to be 100% better in every single aspect of life is unrealistic and nerve-wracking. How about we reduce our perfectionist and conditioned expectations a little bit (or by 98%, to be exact), and see where that gets us? Are you in? Let’s talk about how being 1% better every dayis far more sustainable and effective in the long run than lofty goals that require a full lifestyle overhaul. 

Why choose sustainable habits over hacks

Atomic Habits at Amandean for 2023

The best way of breaking the vicious cycle of abandoning New Year's resolutions is to choose small & sustainable habits over hacks. Hacks are temporary, unsustainable solutions that provide short-lived results. Hacks also leave out important details like motivation, time management, and the skills needed to be successful in the long term.

In contrast, sustainable habit forming involves lasting changes that gradually make a bigger impact over time. So how do you go about creating these? Well, there are a few key factors that will make all the difference: 

  1. Start small and build up gradually. The best way to form a habit is to start off slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as you go. This will help your brain adapt to the new habit and make it more likely that you'll keep doing it over time. 

  1. Find a way to enjoy the process. Many people quit their habits because they get bored and don’t really enjoy the journey. Being process oriented has its place. This might mean finding an app to help you track your progress, or setting up micro-rewards for each time you practice your new habits or reach a milestone along the way. Getting granular is important.

  1. Set realistic goals and make small changes as needed. We're all prone to over-committing when it comes to resolutions, which makes it much more likely that we'll end up falling short. Instead, try setting small goals for yourself and then modifying them as needed to stay on track. Try writing down all the goals you have in mind for 2023, then scale down these ambitious plans by 20%, and see what happens when you make your vision a little bit more realistic.

  1. Drop the all-or-nothing mentality. While it can be tempting to quit if you miss a day or fall off the wagon, the truth is that taking the occasional "break" from your habit can actually help you stick with it in the long term. So avoid falling into an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to your resolutions, and instead focus on making sustainable changes throughout the year. Going hard in the gym doesn’t mean going against your body’s signals - rest is just as important as the work you do. Also, a single cheat meal doesn’t mean all your progress is ruined - just pick up where you left off and avoid interpreting a single bump in the road as a failure. Be mechanical, not emotional.

The 1% better everyday philosophy

What if I told you that a single resolution can change your entire perception of the upcoming year? Now that we’ve established that perfection is the enemy of good progress, we can agree that working towards being 1% better every day is a sustainable technique for achieving your goals.

Sustainable Weight Loss with Atomic Habits in 2023

The 1% better everyday philosophy means taking baby steps in all the important aspects you want to improve in the upcoming year. Want to drop 15 lbs by summer for example? Let’s replace the idea of depriving yourself of everything you love with the concept of balanced eating. Would you like to introduce a morning jog into your daily routine? Start with a slower pace and shorter routes instead of overdoing it the first morning.

When you begin to look at your goals in terms of daily improvement, it’s easier to stay the course. And let’s face it – nothing feels better than those daily dopamine hits that give us a sense of progress and accomplishment. 
So why not set aside just a few minutes each day to plan ahead? Take a look at your goals and make a list of the most realistic steps you can take every day to move closer to them. Perhaps you could start by committing to going for a walk four times a week, or setting up a mastermind group with like-minded people in order to keep each other accountable.

Whatever your specific resolution might be, remember that small daily improvement is what matters. After all, it’s incremental changes and small habits that will add up to big results over time. So let’s kick off this year with the 1% better everyday philosophy! After all, that’s 365% better over a year. 1% adds up. Soon you’ll realize how empowering and worthwhile it is to consistently work towards achieving your goals each day, or as the French say “Une etape a la fois”.

Atomic Habits: The habits holy grail

James Clear’sNew York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, has quickly become a game changer in the world of setting and reaching goals. James Clear explores, through his own experiences and studies, what it takes to make a habit stick. James is a writer, speaker, and now a bestselling author with a degree in biomechanics. He highlights principles that can help you develop good habits and break bad ones. The book draws upon cutting-edge science as well as practical experience – but it also lays out several theories about habits that appear to be false. 

While Atomic Habits should definitely be added to your cart next to that cute 2023 planner, here’s a quick breakdown of the main principles explained in the book[1]:

  • Clear emphasizes the fact that it is the smallest habits that will make the biggest impact on your life. For example, instead of trying to read for an hour a day, you can start by reading just five pages per day. Even though this may not seem like a lot, it can add up to more than 100 extra hours of reading per year!
  • Your habits define who you are. If you have a habit of being late, that will become your identity. Similarly, if you are someone who always finishes what they start, this too will become part of your identity.
  • Instead of just randomly setting goals for yourself, it is much better to come up with an actual system. In order to break a bad habit or develop a good one, it is necessary to have a plan in place; a guide to keep you accountable and measure progress.
  • Check to see if your habits are in line with your lifestyle and identity.  For example, if you are trying to develop a habit of always waking up early in the morning, but you love sleeping in, then this will not be sustainable for very long. Identity-based habits are the most effective because they are tied to your core values and beliefs.

Your 1% better everyday cheat sheet

If you want to…

  1. Start a plant-based diet.
Start incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet instead of making the switch to plant-based altogether. You can also try out different types of vegetarian or vegan restaurants in your area, so that you can discover new meals and cooking techniques. Another key strategy for adopting a plant-based diet is to focus on adding more vegetables and fruits into your meals, as these are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. You can also try out meat substitutes such as tofu or tempeh, which have a similar texture to meat, but are plant-based sources of protein.
  1. Drink less alcohol. 

Drink Less With Sober Curiosity at Amandean

In case your 2023 habit is to reduce rather than eliminate, how about taking a one-step-at-a-time approach? Instead of saying “I want to stop drinking completely in 2023″, how about experimenting with mocktails, or limiting alcoholic beverages to just a couple nights a week? This way, you will find it easier to keep your resolution and drop alcohol one sip at a time!
  1. Lose weight and get fitter.

If your goal is to lose weight, change your diet or start exercising, you probably know it won't happen overnight. Start with making more balanced meals by substituting healthy alternatives for your current choices. For example, trade fried chicken for grilled, or replace creamer in your coffee with low-fat options. Additionally, start moving every day by finding an activity you enjoy instead of forcing yourself into grueling workouts. Remember that walking is one of the most therapeutic, yet effective weight loss tools!

Takeaways

The key to creating an optimal lifestyle is to adopt new, healthy habits one step at a time. This will allow you to gradually make long-lasting adjustments, so they eventually become ingrained in your day-to-day life without too much hassle and stress. One strategy for doing this is to take baby steps towards your goals consistently--something as simple as drinking more water or eating more vegetables each day can be a great way to start. Additionally, you can consider using apps or techniques, such as daily journaling, to help you keep track of your progress and achieve more consistency in the behaviors that will have the greatest long-term impact on your physical and mental health. By taking small but consistent actions, you can improve your quality of life one habit at a time!

Summary Points:

  • The best way of breaking the vicious cycle of abandoning New Year's resolutions is to choose small & sustainable habits over hacks.
  • While it can be tempting to quit if you miss a day or fall off the wagon, the truth is that taking the occasional "break" from your habit can actually help you stick with it in the long term.
  • Now that we’ve established that perfection is the enemy of good progress, we can agree that working towards being 1% better every day is a sustainable technique for achieving your goals.
  • In his bestseller Atomic Habits, Clear emphasizes the fact that it is the smallest habits that will make the biggest impact on your life.
  • Identity-based habits are the most effective because they are tied to your core values and beliefs.



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