A Happy New Year, from myself and the Sussex Innovation team to everyone in our community. In the coming months we are looking forward to the launch of several exciting new programmes, which we’ll be sharing more details about very soon.

It’s that time of year when we’re all busy making plans – from laying out our strategy for the year ahead, to setting personal goals and resolutions for what we want to achieve.

As we start tentatively welcoming people back to work, following what may have been an unusually challenging holiday period, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the immense value of having a clear plan. Even through the last few years of uncertainty, thinking about our intentions and goals has helped many of us to maintain some much-needed structure. Plans are always subject to change, but the New Year’s resolution is a tradition worth keeping.

With that in mind, some food for thought. I recently shared some advice with the team from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, about the psychology of how we form new habits. It’s useful to remind ourselves of some of this science from time to time, particularly when we’re getting accustomed to doing something new or difficult.

Clear claims that there are four key ingredients that help to make a new habit stick. It needs to be:

• Obvious: we need to have a clear logic behind why we want to take up the habit.

• Easy: it needs to be something that we can fit into our routine without fundamentally changing everything.

• Attractive: we need to really want to do it, or want the results we will get from doing it.

• Satisfying: the outcome of the habit needs to be better than the alternative.

There are several small adjustments or tactics that we can use to help make things more obvious, easy, attractive and satisfying. For example – find a simple ritual that fits into your routine and helps you to get started rather than procrastinating. Allow yourself to do something you enjoy alongside the job that you need to do, so that you associate the two. And find ways to keep score and track your achievements in order to make the hard work more immediately satisfying.

Whatever you hope to achieve this year, I wish you the best of luck, and look forward to helping you wherever we can on your journey