The Power of Now: Why today is the best time to start your 'new year' resolution
Quit smoking. Take off weight. Cut down on alcohol. Do more exercise. So many of our new year’s resolutions revolve around stopping the bad habits and living more healthily, and we often start thinking about them more as January approaches. We all have the best intentions, but it is actually quite rare for people to stick to their new year’s resolutions long term. The statistics show that as many as 80% of us give them up by the time February arrives.
The start of the new year might feel like the perfect time to reinvent yourself, but experts suggest that choosing January as the time to make big changes makes things very difficult. It’s cold, it’s dark and gyms are packed to the rafters while many of us are at the mercy of an overflowing inbox. If you are truly determined to be your best self, the expert advice is not to wait until the new year to start that journey. Remove that artificial starting point and set yourself up to succeed.
Why it is not helpful to wait for January to start your new year’s resolutions
Building habits takes time. There was a theory that is takes around 21 days to implement a new habit, but more recent research indicates it may actually take more than 2 months.
The 21 days theory came from a plastic surgeon who claimed it takes 21 days for a person to become accustomed to a new limb. At some point, this information was removed from its original context and applied, with no scientific backing, to the process of cementing a habit.
In 2012, a research team published a paper that broke the mould in the European Journal of Social Psychology. It looked into this theory and found that the average person takes closer to 66 days to truly incorporate a new behaviour into a habitual practice. The time it takes could be lower for some, and it may be higher for others, but the key takeaway is that it takes time to make it happen.
Adjusting your mindset
It is estimated that humans have approximately 6,000 thoughts every single day. Unfortunately, more than 80% of those thoughts are negative ones – such is the way humans tend to think. The critical voice often puts us off engaging with difficult or painful experiences. This makes giving up a pleasurable habit or getting started with a fitness challenge all the more difficult. Apart from anything else, our own psyche will remind us that this process will not be easy and we might not succeed.
The more time you engage with that mental resistance, the more difficult it will be to get out of the blocks. Mindset coaches work with people like professional athletes to help with this. A series of training goals will be set and things like visualisation, mental redirection, meditation and affirmation will be used to remain focused and prevent the critical voice from gaining traction. Performance, in any context, is as much about mindset as it is about skill and practice.
The setting of an intention is also crucial. Without having that in place, motivation levels will fluctuate and we may delay getting started. New year’s resolutions fail for various reasons, but one of the most common is failure to have a plan in place. We tell ourselves that the intention to achieve a goal is all we need, so we neglect the process of implementing a strategy to get there and overcome obstacles that arise. So when you make a broad resolution and put it off until January, your mind struggles to focus on exactly what your target is.
Making behaviours into habits
The early stages of forming a new habit are challenging. According to one school of thought, the process of developing a new habit can be broken down into a series of four steps:
This pattern is the foundation of any habit – they are the stages your brain moves through, in the same order, every single time. It starts with a cue; a trigger that causes your brain to initiate a new behaviour. This cue is a piece of information that maps out a path to a reward. Perhaps it starts from seeing your gym clothes hanging by the door, or from reading an article about the benefits of collagen supplements.
The next step is the craving. This is an essential piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked. You need a genuine desire to complete a behaviour if you want to crystallise it into a good habit. Motivation or desire – a craving for change – gives us a reason to act appropriately.
The third stage is the response, and this is when we put the habit into action. It could be taking your collagen supplement for the first time or going a day without a cigarette. It might be completing your first 30-minute HIIT workout or preparing a salad instead of eating some processed snack. This is where the motivation from the previous step is important – if the response requires more effort than you have the will to expend, you are extremely unlikely to do it.
Finally, the reward comes into play. This is the prize we receive for completing the habit. We instinctively chase rewards because they give us satisfaction and we learn from them. Your reward might be seeing the benefits of your collagen supplementation or watching your bodyweight decrease. Or you might even reward yourself manually, perhaps by using the money you saved by not buying cigarettes to get yourself a gift. In order to cement a behaviour into a habit, you need to move through all four stages of the habit cycle in the correct order.
How to succeed with your new year’s resolutions
Big change can lead to significant results, but it can be very challenging to truly acclimatise to a major lifestyle switch. The general recommendation is to break up the ultimate goals of your new year’s resolutions into smaller micro-habits in the weeks that lead up to January.
Habits become easier with repetition. When you start incorporating a new supplement into your days, you are not only carrying out the behaviour but also working towards the formation of a new habit. The same is true of preparing new, healthier meals for yourself or carrying out new workouts. If the overall goal of your new year’s resolution is to get healthier skin by boosting your collagen, you need to gradually incorporate supplements, lifestyle changes and dietary improvements in the run up to January. This will start to build up the habit loop in your brain.
The theory of temptation bundling is another useful thing to consider. The idea is that you link something you want to do with something you believe you should be doing. In December, this can be a very helpful approach, because you can tell yourself that you are only allowed to have a few drinks at the Christmas party if you complete your healthy habit earlier in the day.
One thing to bear in mind is that the reward has to be very immediate for your brain to make the connection. Telling yourself that you will reward yourself at the weekend if you make it to the gym on every weekday is unlikely to help make the habit automatic. You need to reward yourself with something pleasant there and then.
Why Kollo is easy to incorporate as a habit
Aside from developing a powerful and effective collagen booster in Kollo, we thought carefully about how we could make it easy for customers to take the supplement. This is why we chose to make it a liquid; the other forms of supplements can bring up obstacles to regular use, such as:
• Powders: it can be frustrating to have to make a smoothie every morning or blend the powder into your milk or yoghurt. By presenting a somewhat arduous extra activity into your morning routine, you may lose the motivation to keep taking the supplement.
• Tablets: capsules, pills and tablets are often quite large and you usually have to take more than one to get your collagen dosage. Few people enjoy taking tablets, particularly if they have an unpleasant taste, so this is not an enjoyable thing to do every day. Moreover, because you have to take so many of the tablets each day, they can run out quickly.
We chose a liquid suspension for Kollo, in part, because it is very easy to consume. Simply empty the contents of a sachet into water and drink it and you get the full dosage of collagen peptides and other nutrients in one go. The drink tastes great thanks to our natural, sugar-free tropical flavourings, so the behaviour of taking the supplement is quick and pleasant. This makes it easier to do consistently and cement as a habit.
Learn more about Kollo
If your new year’s resolutions revolve around working to look and feel younger again and you want to get a head start on them, Kollo could be an important piece of the puzzle. Learn more about our award-winning marine collagen supplement by browsing our website. The blog section contains a wealth of information and you can view the scientific research, read our customer reviews and stories and learn more about the product from the ‘About’ section.
If you still have questions, our team can be reached via email or through social media and we will endeavour to give you answers.