New Year, New Habits: Why habits are the key to positive change

New Year, New Habits: Why habits are the key to positive change

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First and foremost… Happy New Year!

Myself and the team at BJC Health hope that you have a successful year on all fronts and you are recharged after the break.

We hope to continue to provide value to your lives in some way- whether it’s in the clinic, online or through our blog. Our team are all back on deck after the break and ready to keep changing the lives of those with Rheumatic disease! Drops us a comment below if you have anything you would like us to discuss.

I appreciate you might already be sick of the same “New year, New me” conversations and posts that seem to come around every January, often recycled from the previous year. Despite this, I still get excited about the new year and figure it can be a great time to consider making changes in your life- even if Morpheus tends to disagree.

New Year, New Me

I also appreciate that the start of the year can be both daunting and exciting. And as the Christmas and New Year break ends for many, normal life resumes along with it’s stresses and demands. This also comes with new intentions, ideas and challenges.

Are you keen to make sustainable positive changes in your life?

If your answer is yes, then building positive habits will be essential for your success.

Habits are simply the things you do regularly and I think their importance is summed up nicely in this quote:

How we spend our days

So whatever goals you have for the year, whether it’s related to your work, diet, health, fitness, sleep, relationships or productivity... habits will help you change your life in 2019!

Read on to start making positive change in your life!

1. Know your why

The first step in changing anything in your life is really understanding WHY you and those around you benefit from making that change. Of course many of us know we should eat better, exercise more, spend less time on social media or get more sleep- but why doesn’t this automatically lead to change?

In many cases we haven’t really learnt and reflected on the advantages of making this change. For myself I have been working on getting my sleep habits better for some time. And only once I really understood the true importance of sleep was I able to start making more longer term change. For me, knowing that sleep affects my physical recovery, mental alertness, focus, risk of disease, creativity, relationships and more- was enough to drive me to start making the change.

2. Set your intentions

Creating a vision for what you want to achieve through your hard work can really help build on the why we spoke about above. This goal can be a huge driver in influencing your day to day actions. The SMART principle can help to break down and create a useful goal.


3. Start small

It’s useful to break down your bigger aspirations into smaller more actionable habits. This could be as simple as walking 10 extra minutes in the morning before work or eating one less cookie with your afternoon tea. By starting with small achievable chunks- this allows us to feel the power of success and build momentum as we start to smash out larger tasks.

4. Understand your habits

To effectively change a habit we need to understand the true reason why we do something in the first place. Are those drinks on the weekend more for the social interaction? Is the snacking at work to give you a break from your computer? By better understanding why you do something, you can make sure you replace the reward with another. For the situations above, this might lead to scheduling more active social interactions or walking around the office each time you are craving that computer break.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains the science behind this. It’s a great read if you’re interested in learning more! (and don’t mind some science and research studies). 

5. Set up systems

As much as we would all love to display excellent willpower all the time, this unfortunately is not a reality. When we get overworked, tired and busy it can become all too easy to let our new habits take a back seat. Sometimes we need to create systems which can assist us when we are challenged.

This could mean something like a Habit Change calendar (like below) to help you track and see your progress. It could also come in the form of a reminder/ alarm on your phone to go for a walk at a certain time of the day, or a sign stuck up in the kitchen, bathroom, workplace, bedroom to remind you of your new commitment!

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 11.05.27 am

6. Make it public

This certainly doesn’t mean announcing your intentions on social media to everyone you have ever come across! But we do respond well to the accountability and connection that telling someone close to us of our goals. They will be happy to help you work on improvement. You could set up a weekly meeting where you both reflect on your progress and receive encouragement! Even better you could set up a shared exercise meet-up (time and place!) and make better choices regarding eating at home or when going out.

7. Celebrate the journey!

Without sounding too cliche- I do believe this is perhaps the most important step. As much as a goal can be helpful in changing your life- it really is the journey that helps us to grow. Think of all the little- positive changes you have made on your life and the accumulative effects this will have had on your life. Definitely reason to celebrate!

So change your habits and change your life for a happy and fruitful year!

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