Have you ever had a resolution to live healthier or make better lifestyle choices, but didn’t stick with it? Despite the best of intentions, re-wiring our brain to adopt a new behaviour is no easy feat.
If you’ve ever set a big goal, you’ll know the rush excitement – your enthusiasm is high and you just can’t wait to get started. But over time, motivation naturally starts to wane and day-to-day life becomes a distraction. But that’s no reason not to set goals in the first place. You just have to change your strategy.
It’s the smaller, less exciting lifestyle changes that are more likely to lead you to long-term success. By focusing on the little steps, eventually those bigger goals will feel more achievable.
Not sure where to start? Here’s some inspiration with a list of ideas.
When you read about successful people, one thing that is often mentioned is a daily ritual. For example, Steve Jobs wore the same clothes to work every day – jeans and a black top. The less you need to think about simple day-to-day tasks, the better. Work towards developing a daily habit or ritual and eventually you will be on ‘autopilot’ – it will just happen without having to think about it. For example, prepare breakfast the night before, consume two glasses of water before leaving the house or get a training session in at the same time every day. These appointments with yourself will soon become a non-negotiable.
If you have a skill that you’re hoping to improve, work on that skill every day and you will start seeing change. You don’t have to spend very long – just five minutes every day, which – despite a busy schedule – is manageable for anyone. For example, if you’re wanting to improve your flexibility, spend 5 minutes stretching in the gym after a workout, or at home while you watch your favourite TV show.
If you drive your car above the red line all the time, eventually it will break. The same goes for your body! This is why it’s important to commit to quality recovery. Find something that works for you, such as a weekly yoga or Pilates class, or committing to getting to bed at a certain time each night. For me, it’s waking up naturally – no alarm – for one day each week.
Caffeine affects different people in different ways but generally speaking, the closer to your bedtime it is consumed, the more difficult it will be to get a restful night’s sleep while it’s still in your system. Solution? Stick to your morning coffee, reduce caffeine intake of an afternoon and rest easy at night.
We all know that sitting for long periods is detrimental to our health – so what’s the cure? Movement. Find ways to introduce movement in your day. In the office, use the toilet on the floor below or have an email-free day once per week and walk to your colleague’s desks. Use a wireless headset to take calls so you can stretch while you’re on the phone. Whatever your solution, commit to move more every day.
Bottom line? Keep it simple! Focus on small changes, one at a time, until they become a habit.