Implementing healthy habits & routinesNovember 12, 2023 9:34 am
Incorporating a new habit or routine can feel daunting. Be it meditation, self yoga practice, cold water dips or a daily walk in nature. Nancy Campbell suggests a few ways to make a shift in a more manageable and enjoyable way.
Connect with your “why”
When we want to start a new habit, we don’t actually want the habit itself; what we want is the benefit or outcome of the habit. Peel back the layers and ask yourself, “What do you want to achieve by forming this habit?” For example, if you want to meditate, is it to feel calmer, to release stress? Why do you want to release stress and feel calmer? Is it ultimately to live longer, to be happier? By unraveling the “Why” behind the intention, it will take on a more meaningful form and become more tangible every time you go to do it.
Building a new routine can be challenging. Choose one thing at a time and, if possible, break it down into manageable steps. For example, if you want to de-stress, choose one ritual like meditation, and start with a few minutes. Continue until this feels easy to you, then add on in length or incorporate another goal like pranayama or a short yoga sequence. Small goals built over time are the ones that are more likely to stick.
Make your new habit as easy as possible and establish it as a routine
Transforming a new habit into a routine is the key to success. Habits are easier to maintain when they seamlessly fit into your daily life. For example, if you want to get fit, choose a class on a day and a time of the week you know is your quietest. Choose somewhere to go that is accessible, whether it’s a short journey on your route to work or simply a space in the house that can be dedicated to you for this moment in time. By implementing a regular time and space for a new habit that is realistic, it is more likely to stay.
For example, if you want to eat more healthily, swap something in your fridge for a healthy option which is there when you go to the fridge and easily accessible. If booking a new class is your goal, then book a course so you have a commitment.
Make your habit more attractive
Enhance your habit’s appeal and make it irresistible. Embrace its “bliss point.” The more alluring and appealing your habit is, the stronger its grip will be. For example, if you want to meditate or journal, set yourself up a space to do this which is beautiful, comforting, and if possible, dedicated to this purpose; think comfort, aesthetics, smells & sounds. While it is not possible to turn every habit into a subnormal stimulus, we can often make the experience more enticing. If you want to eat healthier food, fill your fridge with healthy, attractive, yummy food, and pre-plan your meals.
Finally: Be patient & kind to yourself
It is said to take between 18 and 254 days to implement a new habit so it becomes automatic, depending on the person and the habit itself. The more enjoyable, accessible, and tangible you make it, the more likely it is to stick. There may be days when your habit slips, when routine becomes non-routine. If this happens, remind yourself you are human, and this new habit is something you are building to support you, not stress you out. Do your best to celebrate small wins that get you closer to habit forming. Use the practice to show yourself love and compassion and foster patience.
If you would like to join Nancy you can see her upcoming retreats here.