VIEWPOINT: Form new habits, not new excuses


Haylie Williams

4 tips to build better habits, based on the book “Atomic Habit” written by James Clear

Haylie Williams, News Section Editor

“New year, new me” is an idea adopted by many and has become accompanied with a social pressure to make immense change in the new year. However, waiting until the new year to form new habits, or change old ones, is simply an excuse to avoid the difficult task.

Procrastinating until the new year, or until the first of the month, or until Monday; are all used as justification to the avoidance of forming new habits in place of destructive ones. Ironically, this thought process backfires as the longer we push it off , the harder it is to form a habit. 

The key to forming habits that are both successful and sustainable is to continuously and consistently work towards them. That does not mean being perfect every single day, but it does mean when you forget a habit one time, you do not wait until the next Monday or the first of the month to begin again. 

New routines begin as the tiniest of changes. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to make tremendous adjustments in order to have an impact on your current habits. 

The key to forming habits that are both successful and sustainable is to continuously and consistently work towards them.

If you set a goal to keep your bedroom clean, you start with one small task at a time. You can make sure you put your shoes away each time you enter your room, or make your bed every morning. 

Each time one of these small tasks becomes consistent, you add a new task. You can continue on this way until your room stays clean and organized without even having to think about it. 

According to one study from Inside Out Mastery, most Americans expect to fail their new year’s resolutions before February. Only about 9 percent believe that they will successfully achieve their resolutions.

If so many people believe that their new year’s resolutions will be unsuccessful in forming new lasting habits, why do so many wait until the new year to make changes? This is because people are predisposed to avoid difficult tasks. Forming a new habit, or changing an old one, is often difficult predominantly because people fear the failure that often accompanies this task.

In order to make lasting and impactful changes, you must start now. Start with small and easy tasks that will soon become mindless. Soon enough, your habits will begin to subconsciously form themselves.