Does this mean we can’t ever stick to our New Year’s resolutions?
Understanding the snowball effect is essential to developing new, wanted, better habits. Most people try to will themselves into the new habit, and while this method has the potential to eventually work, it will take a long time and will be very stressful fighting with the huge, rolling snowball.
You see, when we use our willpower alone to do something, we’re fighting something we’ve deemed unwanted. And even if indeed it is unwanted, we’re still in a state of fighting, therefore of stress.
But if we took the time to understand that building a new habit – whatever it may be – means we are replacing an old, powerful habit with something small at the moment, and that this will require intentional decisions on our part, we’re already lightening our own load. Expecting to magically have a new habit developed and then blaming ourselves for not experiencing that reality doesn’t help anyone.
Instead, we must be ready to get our hands dirty. We must be ready to be intentional about our choices and feel empowered to make them. We can’t live randomly based on whatever habits we’ve so far developed, because that’s how this snowball got so huge in the first place.
The reality is that we most definitely can stick to our New Year’s resolutions and that we most definitely can develop better habits at any point during the year. But we must understand we’re building on an entirely new habit and since we are multi-dimensional and since we have access to a huge contrasting variety, each habit has many implications in our lives.
Sugar isn’t just about sugar, literally. It’s about where we shop, what we cook, where we eat, whom we meet with, whom we visit, who visits us, participating in office birthday parties, Christmas parties, kids’ lunches, and so on. This habit has many implications and already has a powerful momentum in our lives.
How can we develop better, wanted habits?
First of all, we must understand how the snowball effect works. And now you do.
Second of all, we must stop blaming ourselves for choosing the old habit when the laws of our environment make that choice much easier than a new choice. And now you know how to direct your focus on the new habit, instead of adding to the old by focusing on the guilt about it.
And third of all, we must become intentional about our choices. We can’t leave anything to chance because chance says the old momentum – for the moment – rules. We must give ourselves the time to make a deliberate choice, and whatever we choose, we must feel comfortable with it. We are empowered to our choices, but sometimes an old, powerful momentum makes us think we’re not.
With each new moment we can either look back and blame ourselves for the old snowball, or we can look forward to a brand new snowball that we really want in our lives.
We also have to understand that developing a new habit will take time, intentional focus and action. We can’t just snap our fingers and there it is, our new life. And that’s an expectation around New Year’s resolutions: that just because the Earth has completed its revolution around the Sun, this should affect our lives and our habits more than it does in all the other 364 days.
And while energy does influence our lives, we must understand we have a power of choice in each new moment, and the best time to start developing a new, better habit is right now – whether it’s December 31st, January 1st, June 12th, or whatever other day of the year we feel inspired to doing so.
Don’t tie your success to a date in the calendar. Choose to be deliberate with your focus and action right now!