How about making 2021 your year of health?
Old Habits Die Hard
“A new year, a new you” is the promise many of us make to ourselves when the calendar changes over to the 1st of January. Unfortunately, the majority of us break that promise within weeks of making our well intended resolutions.
What is the let down? It’s our old habits. They do indeed die hard! Even the Oxford Dictionary acknowledges this, defining habits as “a settled or regular tendency, especially one that is hard to give up”. It has been estimated that habits can account for 40% of our behaviours on any given day. But please don’t give up - they may be difficult to break but it’s not impossible!
One way to setting realistic and reachable habits and goals is to remember the acronym EAST.
E is for EASY
Make your habit easy so that there is no excuse to not be able to do it. It’s about creating consistent behaviour. If the habit is getting too big and complicated, think about chunking it or breaking it down into something simpler. Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Incorporate reminders or cues to encourage you to start. These should be linked to a new habit and be tangible. For example, if you want to take a multivitamin regularly, you can link it to something you do everyday, like after breakfast. If you want to remind yourself to do more stretch breaks, link it to something that happens to you everyday. This could be getting up every time the phone rings at work.
A is for ATTRACTIVE
We all love a good incentive, so make a promise to yourself that if you meet a certain habit target, you will celebrate it. Visualise your success and also have a list to help you map out your strategy. Make the reward something important to you, so you will be more inclined to keep at it.
S is for SOCIAL
Tell people about your goals and new habits. If you involve others, you are more likely to be held accountable. Your social circle can be a great provider for encouragement and advice.
T is for TIME
Plan, plan, plan. Instead of setting up a deadline, it might be better to have a schedule which allows greater flexibility. Plan for any slip ups - the what ifs and what thens will help you get back on track much more quickly.
Not all habits are created equally. Some are easier to change than others. Studies have indicated that some new habits can take 21 days to form, while others can take 66 days or even longer. Just remember to be patient and consistent!
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