When you do not have a spare minute in the day, the idea of introducing a new habit seems impossible. You may be surprised what you can accomplish by looking at introducing change into your life. As a single mum, working full time, I wish I had known more about how to make lasting change when my son was unwell, as I believe it would have made my life at the time much easier. Here is what I have learned over my journey.
- Understand your ‘Why’. Knowing what is important in your life and why, really sets the stage for habit change. Delve into this by asking yourself questions like:
- Why is this change important to me?
- How does this goal compare to other goals in my life?
- What is my purpose?
When you identify your purpose, you generate inspiration. You may like to watch this TED Talk by Simon Sinek to get an idea of what I mean.
- Think about your individual skills, values and personality strengths. Many clients find this challenging, as most have been brought up not to brag about what is good about themselves. However, being aware of your skills and strengths provides you with your specific tools which will support you to make change. If you struggle with identifying your skills and strengths, ask your friends what they see in you. Another approach is to complete the free VIA Character Strengths Survey, which identifies and ranks your character strengths.
- Think about a successful change you have made in the past. What worked well, what made this change successful, what obstacles did you overcome, and how? What about that successful change, can you apply to your current goals?
- What support do you have – are there friends, family and/or communities you can link to which will support your change?
- Once you have this information, measure on a scale of 1-10 how important the change is to you. If it does not rate above other priorities in your life, you may want to re-visit if you really want this change.
- Next, do some brainstorming of ways to approach this issue. Hint, small steps which build work better than large life disrupting changes. See how many different solutions you can think of. Get a little crazy here, some “out-there” ideas may germinate into a new successful approach.
- When you decide on an approach, think how your available resources as described above may help. Think about what obstacles may arise, and how you might approach them. For example, if you are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you might have to come up with a plan for what to do if someone offers you a sweet treat. You might just say, “I am cutting down on sugar for my health,” or “I have a health condition, and cannot have any sugar at the moment, so no thank you, even though it does look delicious!” – you get the idea.
- It is important to approach this like an experiment. Try your plan, then review, what worked, what didn’t, what can you do next time. Be kind to yourself, there is no failure, just test and adjust.
- Once you have a plan, measure on a scale of 1-10 how confident you are this plan will work. If you are below 8, try to think of what or who would make you feel more confident, and add that to your plan.
- Try to link your new habit it to an existing habit. If you put the rubbish out every Friday evening, tac on a 5-minute walk around the block to increase your daily movement. Make the change small; if you get out there and walk for 30 minute, that’s great, but if the following week you only walk for five minutes, that is still a success, as that is the goal.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. If you feel you would like some additional support with creating new habits, you may like to participate in the upcoming Activating Wellness Making Change online course (dates TBA). This 5 week group course will take place via Zoom. Weekly 1 hour sessions will cover making changes and creating new habits in more detail, and explore the practicalities further. Participant numbers will be limited, so if you’re interested in finding out more or joining the waitlist, please send me a message.
As always I am also available for 1:1 health coaching to support you in creating new healthy habits.