At New Year we traditionally make resolutions to improve our wellbeing. Yet how often do these positive intentions fall by the wayside?
It’s not always easy to stick to our goals. From losing motivation to getting caught in daily demands, there are many things that can prevent us from making resolutions a reality.
Thankfully, there are things we can do to support the process. It isn’t about quick fixes or fancy tricks; creating a new habit requires commitment and practise. But there are many resources that can help us along the way. The following are tips to successfully build healthy habits that last for good.
Be loving towards yourself
Treating ourselves lovingly is the foundation for forming healthy habits. Try viewing resolutions as an act of self-care, rather than an effort to fix something that isn’t right. Make your intention a special commitment to yourself. And remember to be kind and encouraging to yourself every step of the way.
Set a clear intention
Think about which habit you want to cultivate and why. How would it support your wellbeing? What would your life look and feel like with this in place? The clearer your aim, the more likely you are to make it happen. Make it concrete: write it down, create a vision board or state your intention to someone. You can then return to these words or images throughout to stay motivated.
Keep it achievable
It’s important to make sure your intention is achievable. Start small and aim for quality and consistency. It might be something as simple as taking time each day to slow your breath, practise five minutes of meditation or 10 minutes of movement. Little changes like these make a huge difference to our wellbeing. And don’t try to make too many changes at once. It’s better to embed one good habit at a time and ensure it’s in place before adding something new.
Make a plan
A clear plan makes it much easier to turn a resolution into a reality. It helps to break down the details and decide what you’re going to do and when. The more specific you can be, the better. Schedule your plan into your diary or make a note of what you’re going to do. Try to be realistic about what you can commit to. If your plan is workable and fits into your life, you’re far more likely to follow it through.
Track your progress
Check in at regular intervals to monitor your progress. If you find you’re not sticking to your plan, ask yourself why. Is it unrealistic? Or are there other blocks you need to deal with? Be honest with yourself and adapt your approach if necessary. And remember to celebrate your successes too. Congratulate yourself each time you practise your new habit and reward yourself for reaching daily, weekly and monthly milestones.
Don’t worry if you go off track
We can all fall off course when it comes to building new habits. It takes time and practise to change our behaviour. If this happens, remember that it’s normal and be gentle with yourself. Then, invite yourself to recommit to it. It doesn’t matter how many times we go off track – it matters that we keep coming back. Returning to a practice over and over in this way is how we wire new neural pathways, and in time make healthy habits an integral part of daily life.