According to Lally's study, it takes anywhere between 18 and 254 days for people to form a new habit.
We are creatures of habit, so the idea of changing our habits can feel like an uphill struggle. Even if we know that the habits that we are in may not be supporting us in our existing lives or in the lives that we are pursuing.
There are many reasons why we come 'unstuck' when trying to establish new patterns of behaviour or routines, so here is some simple advice that might support you.
How can we support ourselves to change our habits?
Make it positive!
So often I have heard people say things like, "I am going to treat myself with some cake".
If we have a positive association with something, it makes us more likely to 'turn to it' in order to support our needs.
Below is a brilliant TED talk about how our associations and consequent habits are formed. It clearly demonstrates our need to make new positive associations and be mindful in our decision making process.
TRIGGER - BEHAVIOUR - REWARD
When we are in our stress-response, our 'cognitive control' is diminished and we default back to subconscious responses and habits. Therefore, it is crucial to our success, that we focus on supporting ourselves to become more conscious and mindful in our everyday lives and focusing on the positives of this new habit and what it will bring to our lives.
Keep it simple:
Keeping it simple is crucial. If we try and change many habits at one time, we will send ourselves into overwhelm and our 'conscious control' will go out of the window! Depending on the size of the habit (i.e. whether it is something you do many times a day or just once a day etc), will determine the level of cognitive control you will need to support that change.
Mindfulness feels like rather a 'Buzz' word that has been adopted and practised by many people in many different environments. It basically means being 'present' with awareness and recognition of how you feel in that moment, your surroundings, your senses etc. As a society, we tend to spend a lot of time in our heads without pausing and connecting with ourselves and the world around us. I was told once that we spend 95% of our time operating in our subconscious, which basically highlights how we go about our daily lives through so much habitual sequencing rather than conscious control!
So in order to change those habitual sequences, we need to be 'conscious' and that takes discipline! It's having the ability to 'pause' for a moment and be conscious in the decision making process..you've got to 'show up'! But in my experience, if you are whirling around in your head, it makes 'pausing' all the more difficult to do.
Be kind to yourself:
As Lally discovered, it takes time to establish new habits. If you slip back into your old ways, don't despair and give up. See it as an opportunity to reinforce your intentions and continue as you mean to go on. 'Self - sabotage' can be a slippery slope, so be kind to yourself knowing that you can do it. It just might take a little time and patience to change; sometimes, we need to approach it many different ways before we find the way that 'sticks'.
Get the support you need:
Being a busy mum of two kiddies, wife, and business women, I am always 'spinning plates'! I know, only too well, the challenges of juggling 'life', whilst still striving to make positive decisions to support my health and wellbeing. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to make positive choices and 'feel well'. I, like you, am on a journey. When I think I have got something 'sussed', another challenge pops up to be overcome. But, having worked in the health and wellbeing industry for many years now, I have fully come to terms with the need to prioritise my own health and wellbeing. Without investing in myself, and getting the support I need, I would be in no fit state to help anyone else.
I have always been brought up to help others before myself, but this value has not served me well. The more I invest in myself, the more people I can help and that becomes a WIN WIN for everyone!!
I have recently pressed the 'reset button' and implemented a 'care package' for myself, that includes regular massages, kinesiology treatments and mentoring. This really helps me to 'stay on track' when it comes to maintaining a sustainable level of exercise, time in nature, good nutrition, good sleep, breaks to catch up with family and friends and opportunities to develop my business. The pace of my life spins my energy up and off the ground, resulting in some very reactional behaviour patterns. Investing in myself in this way, supports me to reconnect with myself and the world around me, ground my energies and 'let go' of what no longer serves me, taking back control of my life.
If you feel that you need some support overcoming your challenges, (physical, mental or emotional) or adopting new habits to support your health and wellbeing, I would be very pleased to hear from you.
Call Liz on: 07971 106572 for a free 30 minutes discovery session.
Offering bespoke treatments in therapeutic massage, TFH kinesiology and mentoring.
"Together, we can highlight the challenges and facilitate positive change."