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A Guide to building habits that stick in the New Year 


As the dawn of a new year beckons, the air is thick with resolutions and aspirations for positive change. While setting goals is an integral part of the process, the true magic lies in cultivating habits that support those goals. Drawing inspiration from James Clear, the renowned author of "Atomic Habits," here's a guide to creating good habits that will stand the test of time. 





1. Start small 

James Clear believes that small changes can have big effects and stresses that big results often come from doing small things over and over again. Instead of overhauling your entire routine, begin with a small habit that aligns with your goal. For instance, if fitness is your aim, start with a 10-minute daily walk. 


2. Be specific 

Clear's principle of being specific when defining habits is crucial. Vague goals lead to vague outcomes. Instead of a broad resolution like "exercise more," specify the habit as "30 minutes of cardio three times a week." Clarity provides a roadmap for action. 


3. Make it obvious 

Craft your environment to encourage the desired behaviour. If your goal is to read more, place a book on your bedside table. Making the cues for your habit obvious reduces friction and increases the likelihood of follow-through. 


4. Use habit stacking 

Add new habits on top of the ones you already have. Find a behaviour you already do and link it to a new habit you want to form. For example, if you want to drink more water, pair it with your morning coffee routine. 


5. Employ reinforcement 

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in habit formation. Celebrate small wins along the way to keep motivation high. Whether it's a simple acknowledgment or a small reward, reinforcement solidifies the habit loop. 


6. Embrace consistency 

Consistency is the bedrock of habit formation. Clear stresses how important it is to be there every day, even if you can only do a small amount. Building a ritual that becomes a part of your daily life is what it means to form a habit. 


7. Learn from setbacks 

No journey is without its challenges. Setbacks should not be viewed as failures, but rather as learning opportunities. James Clear suggests analysing what went wrong and adjusting your approach accordingly. Adaptability is key to sustainable habit formation. 


8. Prioritise identity change 

It is not just what you do that makes a difference, says Clear. It is who you become. Focus on changing your identity by adopting habits aligned with the person you aspire to be. If your goal is to become a writer, make a habit of writing every day to embody that identity. 


There is an art to making good habits stick, and James Clear's ideas can help you get there. Do not forget that the small, consistent things we do in our daily lives are what really make a difference. Happy New Year! 


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