Ever spent a week exercising and eating well to spend the next week eating pizza? Or tried to learn a language and given up halfway through? Or maybe you wish you could consistently get up earlier or find time to read all the books on your to-do list? Whatever good intentions we have, it isn’t starting them that is the most challenging part- but sticking to them. So with a brand new decade approaching, making sure you stick to those New Years resolutions and make 2020 count. Follow these simple tips and we are sure your new-found good habits will last more than a week or two!
Tip 1: Be consistent
It goes without saying, but to make a good intention consistent, you need to be consistent with implementing it. It is not enough to commit to something occasionally, or when you feel most like it: daily is best. If you are someone who struggles to find the time or the motivation, we suggest setting yourself appointments on your phone. Not only will this prompt you, but it will also enable you to set a dedicated time to commit to your new habit: whether that be exercising, journaling, or any other positive intention. You may find it tough at first, but eventually your brain will rewire to accept the new habit making it easily a part of your daily routine.
Tip 2: Visualize the benefits
Sometimes your good habit may feel like you have a mountain to climb. If your goal is to lose weight for health reasons, for example, you may begin with good habits but fail to see the benefits as you still have much work to do. Visualizing can help in this respect. Research has shown that the brain interprets visualizations as actions: so it is essentially like a mental workout for your brain. If you can visualize your end goal or the benefits your new habit will have on your life, it might just give you the motivation you need to stick to it. Physical visual’ cues can also help: sticking positive quotes on your mirror, leaving a note to yourself on the fridge, writing something down you have achieved so far- all of this affirmations are more likely to make a good habit stick.
Tip 3: Allow yourself to sit with your emotions
Like all new changes, you are going to experience an emotional rollercoaster: the highs when you achieve targets, the lows when you have a bad day and the guilt if you verge of course. It is ok to experience these feelings: learn to sit with them. These emotions are reshaping your brain and the quicker you accept them (both good and bad) the quicker you will accept the process of change. On particularly hard days, try and turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. For example ‘I didn’t get that dream job, so I should give up writing’ to ‘It’s disappointing I didn’t get that job, but I know I am good at writing so I will continue to do so until another opportunity presents itself’.
Tip 4: Make it fun
‘Well no one wants to eat a salad over carrot cake, or get up at 5 am’ I hear you cry?’ Whilst at times sticking to new habits can be tough, shifting your mindset and seeing your good habit as something you want to do rather than as a chore, may mean you end up enjoying it! Exercise for example is great at releasing endorphins which is why you never regret a workout! For habits that just aren’t that fun, reward yourself for sticking to them. This could be 10 minutes of ‘you’ time to read your favourite book, a small healthy treat or an inexpensive gift. Something that affirms that sense of achievement.
Tip 5: Start now!
No time like the present! You can’t start to form a good habit without beginning. Act positively on that good intention and get going now. Procrastination will only make it a longer and harder process when you do begin. Equally, if you do have a blip in the road, don’t give up but try to pick up where you left off. It is much easier to make a habit stick when it is something you are continually striving towards.
If you are someone who needs support with forming good habits- such as to deal with mental health problems like anxiety, depression or substance abuse, our Choices Personalized Retreats Program can help. Our therapeutic tools offer the opportunity to get an improved perspective of self and acquire a further insight to experience long-lasting transformation.