Habits are quite simply the formation of behaviours that become automatic over time to each of us. They can be good or bad, they are how the brain saves time and energy - by making some actions automatic and requiring little conscious thought and effort - this is great if your habit is a healthy one that benefits you - not so great if it has a negative impact.
These habits may be in place in our day to day lives as something that has been convenient over time and selected for simplicity. Continuing to choose the same option over and over increases the likelihood of that behaviour becoming a habit.
Recently, we have been given the novelty of time with many of us not having a busy commute or the school run, and we may have been able to reflect on our previous habits and behaviour choices, and we may have decided that we need to make some changes for the good of our health and well-being! The good news is that it only takes us 21 days to form a new habit, and around 66 days for it to become a new automatic! This means that just because we have always done something a certain way, doesn't mean we always have to do it that way - All of us can change!
So, after recognising a negative habit or a series of unhealthy and unhelpful choices, here comes the best bit …. you can begin to investigate what changes can be made and how simple improvements can result in healthier choices and sustained change for the better. Simple habit changes can look like;
· Breaking away from our desks to have a walking meeting
· Turning to a healthier snack than what we would usually choose
· Trying a new healthy recipe
· Planning the food shopping based on a meal plan
· Increasing our water intake
· not getting caught up in the ‘scroll hole of social media’ when we have a spare 20 mins in our daytime.
Small realistic changes can have a massive impact when we make them over and over again. Creating healthy habits is the key to enhancing our mood, eating a better-balanced diet and feeling more rested and peaceful.
Making changes can bring on those uncomfortable urges, cravings and feelings of panic. When we change we are often stepping into the unknown, and it’s natural to feel inclined to want to stick to what we know, you are not alone, we all do this. But over time and through experience, by breaking that chain to old habits and choosing more positive alternatives, we see real change start to take place. By choosing self-improvement through changing habits, and giving ourselves new opportunities; we also develop a new perspective and a new set of coping mechanisms.
Sometimes it’s just your motivation or confidence that needs some supporting, and that is fully understandable too; that's why we are here!
So how to start? Go grab yourself a pen and paper,
1) Start by writing down a list of health changes you would like to make.
2) Highlight one of these changes that you would like to start with. It's important to take your time and make one change at a time, when we try to change all our habits in one go we can become overwhelmed and go back to what feels comfortable. The key is to change things gradually and make each change a habit before starting the next one. This leads to sustainable change.
3) Break it down, what are the smaller steps within that change? Choose one thing that you can commit to and succeed at, something you can repeat again everyday and feel a sense of accomplishment about too.
4) Once the first step starts to feel easy, add the next step. For example if you want to drink more water in your day; step one might be to fill up your water bottle at night and drink it in the morning as soon as you wake up. Step two might be to have a glass of water with all your meals, and step three might be to have a glass every hour. If you add one of those steps per week; then you can be drinking 2ltrs a day everyday within three weeks, but the change will feel gradual, a habit will have formed and eventually very little effort will be needed to continue.
If you would like our support to start making some sustainable changes, call our team on 01522 705162 or sign up here