I slept in this morning, a rare event for me. And it has thrown me, my day is out of kilter, my morning habits scattered. This got me thinking about habits, how much they are part of our lives, and how we struggle to change them ourselves.
The longer we live the deeper our habits, until we change them, or life forces changes. Like Covid, it forced us to change. Big changes for most of us, and the ramifications will go on for years. Did Covid habits develop in your life, (that are now about to reverse)? How many times you have forgotten your mask recently might be a good way to tell.
Covid has taught me more about flexibility. In the practical stuff, though more importantly in the mind. I think how much psychological flexibility we have is 1 of the key factors to how well we adapted to Lockdowns. And for being able to adapt and change our habits. And I believe essential to balanced wellbeing – not being dominated by rules, going with a natural ebb and flow, taking care of ourselves in different ways when need be.
But if adjusting to change and creating new habits isn’t your strongpoint, how to improve that?
I would make 3 suggestions (to you, and to me as I am still learning) –
- Read Tiny Habits by B J Fogg. I like this, because small changes are part of my health coaching. These are even smaller changes.
I liked his emphasis on all 3 of motivation, ability and having a prompt being present for a new habit to take hold. And idea of writing a recipe for your new habit – ‘After I have …… then I will …….and I will celebrate by ……..’ Anchor. Behaviour. Celebrate. ABC. Simple.
- New habits take willpower until they are embedded. A little understanding about willpower goes a long way. Willpower is like a muscle, it needs strengthening to build up it, fuel to keep it going (the brain runs on glucose), and it runs out. For example, if you can’t understand why you eat well all day only to overindulge in the evening on the sofa, then perhaps you have simply used up that day’s willpower already? Your willpower has run out and will reset overnight.
- Self-compassion for when things go wrong. There will always be days when things don’t happen as planned. Trying to eradicate black and white thinking is a big help here – back to some flexibility – grey areas. Another food example – planning for inevitable lapses when trying to lose weight or recover from disordered eating. By treating it as a learning experience, rather than failure, can be a massive mind-shift in the language we use to talk to ourselves.
Changing habits, whether within or without of our control, is not easy. I would not have a business if it was. But it can become easier with some wider thinking, realistic expectations, the right motivation and plenty of self-kindness.
If you would like help changing your habits around food and wellness, or developing a more flexible mindset, then drop me a message and let’s have a chat.