Do you set yourself goals for the year?
I'm personally not a fan of new year resolutions. I am however a fan of reflecting and setting goals regularly, but this doesn't necessarily need to be in January.
I'm fascinated with human behaviour and have read quite a lot in the area of behaviour change (I highly recommend the Tiny Habits book from BJ Fogg). Building long term sustainable habits is also my approach when working with clients, short term diets do not work! When our habits become a natural part of our everyday lifestyle they don't feel like an effort and this is when the magic happens.
My five top tips below are a collection of what has worked for me, my clients and from the literature on behaviour change.
The key takeaway is that it is the small things, done consistently over time where you will see the biggest impact. Skip the Jan diets, fads, and detoxes they don't work - making long term lifestyle changes is where it's at!
My top 5 tips to build sustainable habits
1. Pick one thing.
Rather than trying to do everything at once (hello the typical new year resolutions) which often isn't realistic, it's the small things made consistently over time that will make the biggest difference to your health.
If you have a list of goals break them down and prioritise one first, ideally pick the easiest one first too.
2. Make it simple.
Break each goal down into achievable smaller tasks. Build from you are currently at and avoid going to extremes. It needs to be simple enough that you don't need to rely on motivation alone as it isn't reliable all of the time.
3. Attach the habit with an existing one.
I have found this one very useful. It really helps to embed a new habit into your everyday routine and helps to remind you to do it. For example, if your goal is to drink more water try having a glass while waiting for the kettle to boil.
4. Understand your why.
If you're changing existing habits, first try to understand why you think you currently do it. For example, if you want to snack less in the afternoon, understand what your triggers are - are you really hungry or just want a distraction from work? Could you go for a short walk instead or have a chat with a friend instead?
5. Progress, not perfection.
This is an important one! Focus on the progression you have made or ask yourself what is the smallest thing you can do today to progress towards that goal?
Finally - be kind to yourself! January isn't the most inspiring month and there are eleven other months of the year to also work on your goals.