31st January 2018
Every January, most of us pledge to change our ways and be a better version of ourselves. Statistically, we opt for resolutions that require us to drastically change our patterns of behaviour, in favour of eating more healthily and losing those extra pounds to feel better, look good and live longer.
A third of people living in Britain make New Year's resolutions every year, but as many as 8 in 10 people will fall by the wayside by March, according to a YouGov poll. In most instances, we find that our current behaviour is responsible for our ‘bad habits’ - the ones we need to change in order to achieve our new goals. Bad habits are hard to break, mainly because we enjoy doing them! However, a habit is just a behaviour that we have performed so frequently, we do it automatically. Since it takes no effort or conscious thought to perform, it gets built into our daily lives and ultimately stops us from breaking free of unhealthy actions. A recent study from the University College London has shown that on average, it takes 66 days to permanently change a habit, although some people on the study achieved this in little as 18 days. New ways can be tough at first, but in no time your ‘new habit’ will become a good habit. Anyone can learn a new habit so go ahead and believe that you can do it!
Here are a few tips to keep you heading in the right direction and feeling good at about your new choices!
Try to be ‘mindful’ about your behaviour.
Being ‘mindful’ of our behaviour can help to break free of the bad habits. Take a moment to wonder why you have the bad habit in the first place. For example, perhaps you can’t help but eat biscuits when you have a cup of tea. Perhaps you need to change your drink of choice and break the cycle you have created, or simply stop buying biscuits and replace them with a heart-healthy alternative. Take the time to really look objectively at the habits you wish to be free of, and identify the reasons behind them. Why do you engage in this certain behaviour? In understanding why we do things, we can learn better habits and do things differently.
Keep your goals simple.
One goal at a time, broken down into stages, goes a long way to achieving it and sticking to it!
Use visual reminders to stay focused.
Seeing your goals help us to retrieve better and remember our goals, making it more likely that we will stick at it for longer.
Pat yourself on the back from time to time!
Celebrating your successes reinforces the goal, and makes keeping your resolution that much easier.
Prepare yourself for small lapses.
We all stumble sometimes, so be kind to yourself and keep going regardless.
Allow yourself to be supported.
Let friends and family in, so they can be there to help you out when are feeling daunted and discouraged, and celebrate your achievements with you!
2018 can be your year to change your habits, shake things up and realise your dreams. Happy New Year to you!