How many of us have set ourselves a challenge, or maybe a new year’s resolution and a few weeks later it’s fallen by the wayside?!....Me!
Now ask yourself how many times you forget, or fail to brush your teeth on a morning? I’m guessing (and hoping) the answer is almost never. When something is a habit – a part of our daily routine, we don’t have to persuade ourselves to do it – it just happens without thought.
So how do we get to the same place with our desired healthy habits, learn to establish new routines and make these changes stick?
Making the change
As a society, were often looking for a quick fix; a way to reach our goals as fast as we possibly can. This isn’t always a bad thing; but trying to see your wellness goals as a lifestyle rather than a finish line will be a great place to start, meaning less pressure, less disappointment and more room to enjoy the journey!
September is often seen as a new start; an opportunity to make a change. With children finally on their way through the school gates and more people heading back to work, there’s no time like the present to re-establish routines, bring back healthy habits and work to step back into ‘normality’ making wellness a priority.
When thinking about making a start, work to consider the below points:
Slow and steady wins the race
As great as an overnight transformation would be – it’s just not realistic. Be patient with yourself. Rather than challenging yourself to new habits which could be unmanageable e.g. a run every single morning – slow it down and maybe try it once or twice a week. Instead of the new habit leading to exhaustion, burn out and a dislike for this form of exercise, this approach will be easier to achieve, there’s not as much pressure, and you’re more likely to make it happen. Remember, things take time.
Do you enjoy it?
Choose your new intentions based on the things that bring you joy. If you can’t stand high intensity training, but you love walking – opt for the daily walk as your exercise goal. If you decide to take on a restrictive diet which results in you not enjoying your meals – chances are this won't be sustainable. Create new habits which make you happy. When you enjoy these new routines, they will be more likely to stick.
Is it realistic?
Consider your lifestyle. If you have a busy family life, social commitments and you work full time, setting yourself a new health goal which you hope to commit to every day may not be manageable. Think - which of your goals can be easily incorporated into your normal day to day lifestyle? Start there and build on it.
Make it easy for yourself
If you have healthy food in the fridge, or your yoga mat rolled out at the ready, you’re more likely to engage. Design an environment and routine which is supportive toward your goals. For example, if you’re trying to get out of the habit of snacking on certain foods throughout the day – make healthy snacks and store them at the front of the fridge. Make it easy for yourself.
Consider a few back up ideas for when things don’t go to plan e.g. a saved home workout as a replacement for a run on a rainy day.
Remember, the more complex the habit, the harder it will be to make it stick. Try to keep it simple.
Allow yourself to fail
Life happens. We don’t always manage everything that is on our to do list. Avoid the pressure and feelings of failure if this is the case. Instead of making that the focus, think of what got in the way.
Is there too much on your list? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you just need a rest? Listen to your body and give it what it needs – that way you’ll fill the tank and more often than not, get back on track the following day.
Finding a workout buddy, signing up to a yoga class pass or making a choice to prioritise nutritious meals with your partner or a family member will not only support and motivate you, but also make you more accountable to make a change!
Make it stick
Attach a new habit or behaviour to something you already do every day – this will make it more likely to stick. For example, if you want to get into mediation, allow yourself 5 minutes while you wait for your morning cuppa to cool down. Done often enough, this could become a daily ritual. Rather than constantly relying on will power – attach it to another habit to make it happen!
If it’s your mission to start a fresh, move forward creating personally meaningful goals which are enjoyable, realistic and fit in with your weekly routine. Work to approach your new, healthy habits considering the impact they will have on your overall health, mentally as well as physically.
Move toward your goals and challenges with self compassion, positivity and patience.
‘It’s often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.’ The Queen
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
'The 'Wellness with Anna' philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health, providing clients with the tools they need to make sustainable changes and the motivation to start their new health journey.
We discuss how you can eat real, nourishing food, exercise mindfully and prioritise time to relax. What I provide isn't a diet; it's a holistic approach to a healthier life.'