Photo credit: ellenhorn.com
Habits. All of us have them...good habits and not-so-good habits, right? And almost everyone wants to change a habit (or two) for the better. More exercise. More sleep. More salads at lunchtime. In other words, it's human nature to want to be better. When it comes down to it, though, it's hard to change; I think most of us underestimate just how difficult it is. If it were easy, everyone would be a picture of perfect health! And if it were easy, the National Institutes for Health (NIH) wouldn't have an entire program dedicated to the study of change. But, alas, it's not.
In our business, we talk a lot about change. In fact, we blogged about goal-setting earlier this year, just in times for those New Year's resolutions. When deciding what we want to change, there are a few things some of us get wrong. For one, we might make huge declarations about a change we want to make. For example, "I want to lose lots of weight this year!" Or, "I'm going to quit smoking!" It very well may be that you lose lots of weight or your quit smoking tomorrow. But for most of us, theses attempts at change see more failure than success. Why? Because these goals are often too big, too vague, and too much of a shock to our normal habits and routines.
So, how do we make lasting change? There is so much advice out there on how to do it; even researching the best ways to change may feel overwhelming! So, let's start small. One piece of advice I've always thought was useful was this: tie your desired change to an existing habit. For example, let's say you just read an article on many health-related benefits of meditation and you're interested in incorporating it into your life. Let's also say you brush your teeth every night at around 9pm and have for the last 40 years. To increase the chance of success of adding meditation into your life, you tie a few minutes of meditation to your existing habit of brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth at 9pm...then you meditate for a few minutes right after. When you tie your desired change to a habits that's not changing anytime soon, you'll have a better chance of making that change stick, too.
In honor of National Nutrition Month...give it a try?