Anyone can make a New Year's resolution---millions of people do each year at this time. Keeping those resolutions is the hard part. Past studies have found that the majority of New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside, many as early as February. Behavior experts say the key to being part of the minority that keeps those resolutions is to turn them into habits.
James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, recently joined CBS This Morning to discuss how to turn empty resolutions into new habits. He believes it starts with shifting your focus. "Instead of focusing on the outcome---does the scale move, or whatever---you should focus on showing up as that new identity each day," says Clear. "A lot of the time we focus on this big, wonderful thing that we want to achieve, but really you just need to master the art of showing up---writing one sentence, doing one push-up, meditating for one minute."
Clear explains that consistency in small, daily actions is what will eventually lead to new habits and ultimately, results. "Every action you take is like a vote for the kind of person you want to become," he told CBS. "So writing one sentence does not finish the novel, but it does cast a vote for being a writer...and doing one push-up does not transform your body, but it does cast a vote for being a healthy person."
To help you maintain these new actions, Clear recommends keeping track of them in writing. "Just put an X down for each day you do it," he says. "So rather than looking at your body in the mirror or looking at your weight on the scale, you can track it in a way that matches the consistency that you need to have."
You should also be patient. Despite the common belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit, new research finds it actually takes 66 days on average.