Be Well

Publication year2021
Vol. 46 No. 4 Pg. 35
Vermont Bar Journal
Winter, 2021

Mindful Ways to Create Habits, Resolutions and Intentions to Improve Your Well-Being

By Samara D. Anderson, Esq.

Despite it being February already, I still feel that I am preparing for 2021, looking at my life and determining what habits and behaviors are supporting me, and which ones are not. Essentially, that took me most of January, which is why I am finally getting around to finalizing my 2021 Positive Habits and Resolutions. As a mindfulness instructor, I not only want to use mindfulness, neuroscience, and science-backed research to support the absolute best outcomes in my own life, but I want to support others to do the same. I do not want to just create a list of aspirational positive tasks that fall by the wayside as life gets in the way. I want to learn how to integrate them fully into my life in a way that is sustainable, so they have the best chances of success. Thus, according to my quick study into the creation of sustainable habits and resolutions, the methodology I outline below should help all of us take some positive steps in the right direction in 2021!

First, we begin with habit formation and recognizing habits.[1] What is a habit? It is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously or involuntarily. Habits are done often and built into your daily routine without much effort. Habits stem from convenience as more than 40% of the actions people perform every day are not actual conscious decisions, but unconscious habits. A habit is different from an addiction, which is an action done over and over again, despite causing harm to our lives. Habits are an important force that our brains actually cling to, because they create neurological cravings where a certain behavior is rewarded by the release of “pleasure” chemicals in the brain.

Second, we must implement some “habit hacks” to cultivate better habits:

1. Think Small – Really Small:

a. Create an atomic habit, or a really small habit.

b. Thinking small is easier because once you get started, you can build.

c. For example, Do not promise yourself you are going to read more books, instead commit to reading one page per day.

2. Create a Physical Reminder A physical totem can make the habit or standard you are trying to hold yourself to into something more than idea. (Example: AA chips)

3. Lay out your supplies (journal, running clothes, etc.)

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