Happy New Year! At the start of 2020, many of us imagine a better life ahead, fueled by the optimism we feel at the start of “the 20’s.” When we imagine a better life, many things come to mind, including stronger connections with our loved ones, productivity in work, and creativity in leisure. However, none of these are possible without our physical health. Healthy habits tend to take center stage when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but health does not happen immediately when the clock turns from 11:59 PM in 2019 to 12:00 AM in 2020. What can you do to make resolutions you can keep? Let’s start “the 20’s” with a few hints for a healthy new you and changes that will last a lifetime.
The Limits of Willpower
After years of resolutions, how many of them continue in your lifestyle today? Although you might have mastered a life change for some time, these changes tend to fade in time. One of the problems with New Year’s resolutions is that we tend to rely on willpower to carry us through the change. The underlying logic is that if we want a thing enough or have enough sheer self-discipline, we will be able to make a transformation. However, recent behavioral science suggests that it is not so simple. Willpower can take us through a transition in lifestyle, but its effectiveness tends to fade with time. Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng at Macquarie University in Australia study the relation between willpower and habits in changing fundamental pieces of our life. In a series of studies, they found that willpower was effective in helping us change eating habits, exercise, and breaking addiction to harmful substances, but that habit formation was a essential way to assist in moments when willpower was put to the test. Furthermore, there was a ripple effect between healthy habits, linking such behaviors as exercise, healthy eating, and smoking cessation.
How to Form Habits
With willpower and habits working in tandem, your next question might be how to form a new habit—one that will last. Behaviorists have a wide array of strategies to make new habits and to break old ones. One of the most successful strategies has been to link a new habit to an old one that you do without even thinking. Perhaps you have a habit of brushing your teeth before bed but you would like to add the habit of drinking more water. If you can link the two of these activities together, you will have a better chance of establishing a permanent habit than doing so in isolation. Each night when you are brushing your teeth, make a point of drinking a glass of water. You just might find that the habit of a glass of water before bed becomes part of your daily routine, even if you forget to brush your teeth! Another key to habit formation is to remove obstacles to the new habit at the time of formation. If you find that you resist making the trip to the gym, start to incorporate that trip in the same journey with another place that you need to go, such as your child’s daycare center or the grocery store. By removing an obstacle, you can make habit formation easier and at some point you might not even think about it.
Resolving to Hear
In contrast with the emphasis on willpower and habit formation, another kind of resolution doesn’t require an ongoing life change. One simple step can transform your life in countless ways, and the resolution to take action is as simple as picking up the phone: making an appointment for a hearing exam. If you find that your communication and hearing ability are compromised in any way, a hearing exam is in order.
Lifestyle Hearing Solutions
Simply knowing if you have hearing loss is a step in the direction of ensuring that you are able to hear clearly through 2020 and beyond. This one step makes it possible to transform your life without relying on willpower or establishing new habits. By simply making an appointment for a hearing test with Lifestyle Hearing Solutions, you will be on the road to a better life. Don’t hesitate to make the call!