Creating habits that benefit you is a fantastic way of laying foundations for a long term, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.
Check out this article to understand a little more about habit formation.
Develop an awareness of your current habits.
We need to be aware of what we’re doing in order to realise the habits we have.
Write down your habits as you go through the day. What do you do when you first wake up? What are your go-to foods for across the day? Do you stop for lunch? Are you on your phone? What do you do in the few hours before bed?
When you’ve done this for a few days, look over each habit and decide if they’re serving you well, or if there’s something else that would be more beneficial or is there something you’d prefer to fill your time with.
Does your day or week look the way you want it to?
Is there something you would like to change?
If so, write it down. Make yourself accountable. If you want to start the day reading a chapter of your book rather than scrolling through your phone then write it down on a notepad next to your bed. Use another device for your morning alarm. Turn your wifi off before you go to sleep and place your phone out of reach. Place your book next to your bed.
If you want to exercise. Lay out your clothes the night before. Write down your exercise intentions.
You’re more likely to achieve the things you want if they are written down, and if we manage our environment so that choosing that option is easier.
Choosing smaller goals will make the formation of habits a longer process, but it’s more likely to form better and longer-lasting habits. It’ll be slow, but you’re more likely to keep moving forward.
Choose small achievable goals.
If you’re starting from no exercise. Don’t plan to exercise everyday. Write down a reasonable amount of exercise that you think you can achieve. This may be a plan of exercising for 10 minutes three times a week. If you do a little more, that’s a bonus.
Be consistent. Choose realistic goals. Keep doing it. Build those brain connections and habits!
Thoughts on Habits
Things are feeling pretty tiring and same-y during this lockdown period. I hope you know you’re not on your own.
Having a routine can bring comfort. It can also bring security and familiarity. It can keep us going through the days on some form of “normal track”. But making sure your habits are serving you well is important.
Do you give yourself time in the morning before you start your work or daily jobs? Have a cup of tea, read a chapter of your book, make time for breakfast, or a shower.
Set aside time for lunch. Close the laptop, put down the housework, give yourself a breather. Go for a 5 minute walk and harness the power of nature. Have leftovers from the night before so you get a nutritious boost.
Shut your laptop off at an appropriate time, as often as you can.
What do you do before bed? Are you relaxed? Put your phone away. Read. Listen to music or a podcast.
Keep up the Commute.
If you’re working from home then the boundaries of the beginning and end of the work day can become blurred. It can be hard to get out of office mode. Equally, if you’re not working right now, sectioning off the day with purposeful habits can help you relax.
Create a local 5 minute commute at the start and end of the day. Or to signify the start of your jobs for the day, and no more jobs at the end of the day.
Planning: it’s easier to grab whatever is available in the house when we’re at home. However, planning what you’re going to eat in advance can create a more balanced diet overall.
Create a plan and shop accordingly the week before
Keep a pantry/fridge/freezer stock of useful items: eggs, hummus, raw veggies, frozen fruit and veg, seeded crackers, olives, pesto, oats
Plan evening meals that you can batch cook, or that you’d enjoy the leftovers of the following day e.g. a piece of fish with veg and potatoes in the evening, then a piece of fish with a salad, or in a sandwich the next day
Plan in foods you’re excited about
Be Aware. Start Small. Be Consistent. Create the Right Environment for Success.
Photo 2: by Prophsee Journals on Unsplash
TED Talk: The Science of Habits. Marco Badwal. Accessed January 2021.
National Institutes of Health: accessed January 2021.
BMJ: Healthy habits in middle age linked to longer life free from disease. Accessed February 2021.