As the clock strikes twelve at the end of another year, I know a lot of us feel huge amounts of pressure (mainly from ourselves) to make big changes, to make the next year the best yet, and to miraculously attain all of our lifelong goals in a short space of time.
If you have that outlook, cast it aside right now, along with all those horrible pressures! No day is more special than any other (sorry 1st of January, no offence meant).
If there are habits you want to break or changes you want to make to your daily life, I think the start of a new year is a great time to do so… if done properly and broken down with manageable steps!
Let me help you out a little :)…
Although there are many benefits of going with the flow in life, and I’ve become accustomed to taking each day as it comes, I am a definite planner by nature. If you’re anything like me and want to achieve something, you know that it’s not just going to happen over night, and you like to think ahead a little to give yourself the best head start that you possibly can. That’s why, for the last few years, I’ve thought about what changes I want to make, what new habits I want to form, and what wrongs I want to try to make right, well in advance of the close of the year, in order to avoid that overwhelming last minute rush of feeling unprepared for my all important ‘fresh start’!
I genuinely believe it’s much more beneficial to think about the small steps that you can take, as these will eventually add up to big & successful changes over time. And these will be changes that are so embedded into your daily life & way of being, because of how you’ve gone about getting there, that you’ll be much more likely to stick to them! It doesn’t have to be difficult!
Remember: Start small. Think ‘little but often’. Repeat.
Basic, healthy habits usually fall under the following main categories: healthy eating & drinking; exercising; getting a good night’s sleep; self-talk; and how we fill our spare time & who with. I’ve always believed that if you find balance in these areas, then your daily state of mind will drastically improve, and your day will just run a heck of a lot smoother.
Good days = a good week = a good month… you get where this is going right?!…
Full speed ahead to those big & successful changes that all started from nothing but baby steps! – Genius hey?!
These are the main habits I aim to implement, slowly but surely, over the coming year, and the baby steps I plan to take in order to do so. If you have similar goals, perhaps some of these tips will help you too, or get you thinking of your own! Delve in to any that stand out to you, read the whole list, or simply skip to the end of the post to start thinking about your own healthy habits!
∆ Healthy Habit: Become More Mindful
Baby steps to get there:
≫ Consciously breathe, take time to sit & notice your breath, allow yourself time to stop & breathe deeply.
≫ While eating do nothing but eat – chew slowly (this also benefits your digestion massively!), enjoy the taste & texture of every mouthful, be thankful for the meal in front of you.
≫ Notice when your mind has wandered or destructive thought patterns have appeared – gently bring your attention back to the here & now when it wanders.
≫ Be aware of your body and any tension that’s present – unclench that jaw, relax those shoulders, and regularly remind yourself to do so throughout the day.
≫ Make time to meditate, preferably first thing in the morning – starting with just 2-5 minutes (that’s basically the same, small amount of time that you would use to brush your teeth or go to the toilet!)
∆ Healthy Habit: Allow More Moments Filled With Fresh Air & Movement
Baby steps to get there:
≫ Make time to go outside. There’s always a chance to get fresh air, even if you live in a concrete jungle.
≫ Make morning or evening walks a regular part of your routine. Maybe a 5 minute walk around the block, or even a 2 minute walk up the road & straight back down, or walk around your garden once or twice, no matter how big or small.
≫ If you work in an office, take at least one 10 minute break from your desk every day, no matter what the weather. I know how much of a difference this small change made to my days during many a long, grey, UK winter.
≫ Team up with a friend – being accountable to someone else makes a huge difference to any exercise success.
≫ And if there’s days when you really can’t face going outdoors, wrap yourself up warm and crack open a window or two in your home or office, at least that way you’ll get a little fresh air.
≫ Don’t force yourself to do exercise you don’t enjoy! For me I’m starting with walking, gentle yoga, and building back up to swimming when it gets a little warmer.
∆ Healthy Habit: Gain Better Sleep Through Technology Detox
Baby steps to get there:
≫ I always find trying to reply to lots of messages in the evening or just before bed makes me feel a little frantic & far too alert for that time of day! By leaving things until the next day, I can usually reply to everyone so much quicker, clearly & more efficiently.
≫ Decide from a certain time (for me, 10pm) that you’ll come off & away from your phone (this becomes easier each night you do it, I promise), and again, you can team up with a friend for this one! – Send each other a last supportive message a minute before your phone-free time. I find it easier if you know someone else is doing it alongside you.
≫ Set your phone to silent (no, I’m afraid vibrate doesn’t count). Even pop it on to airplane mode if you’re able to (I know, I know, what about emergencies – Got a house phone? They’ll be able to reach you on that. No house phone? – set ringtones for certain people, or disable notifications & messages so that you’re only able to receive calls).
≫ You could even leave your phone in another room, or over the other side of your bedroom, so that you’re not even tempted to check it again. This also helps to get you up in the morning if you use your phone alarm, as you have no choice but to get straight up & out of bed and avoid the dreaded snooze. This used to be one of my favourite habits once I got in to a routine of it.
≫ Find yourself thinking up creative ideas or remembering important bits & bobs at night time? Reliant on your reminders/notes to make sure you never forget anything? Leave a notepad & pen by your bedside just incase some words of wisdom, an important date or a must-have food shop item spring to mind just as you’re drifting off. That way, you won’t wake yourself up by going back onto your phone or get distracted by notifications and accidentally fall down the rabbit hole.
≫ Set your phone to night mode (for me between 7pm – 7am) to avoid that bright blue-white light that causes your body clock to think it’s time to wake up & become super alert while you’re trying to unwind from your day!
≫ Download the Moment – screen time tracker app so that you can see on average how often you’re on your phone each day – if the results don’t give you the kick up the backside that you need to put the thing down a little more every day, I don’t know what will! This also links back to Becoming More Mindful.
≫ Want to rise earlier & make more out of your day? Start to go to bed (in bed, lights off, phone off) just 10 minutes earlier than usual every night, and set your alarm to wake you up 10 minutes earlier the next day. After 6 days of increasing it to 10 more minutes you’ll be falling asleep a whole hour earlier & so waking up a whole hour earlier!
Make it more than manageable!
For those suffering with anxiety, depression, PTSD & other mental illnesses, I know that this can be a tough one, as you can feel so lethargic & like a lead weight in the mornings, or full of dread & simply unable to get up – it can often be a huge effort for you and no easy task. I know that you’re not lazy!
I always find that a good day really does start the night before.
And if you have a loved one you can rely on to give you that extra gentle nudge & helping hand first thing, then make sure you use them!
∆ Healthy Habit: Improve Self-Talk & Gratitude
Baby steps to get you there:
≫ I just love books (especially self-help, or as I like to call them, ‘hippie dippie’ ones). I enjoy how much they can make you expand and the way a lot of them encourage you to be kinder to yourself. I appreciate the lessons that they can teach you, the stories within that can entertain you, the insights that can inspire you, the experiences that you can relate to, the different perspectives that they can open you up to & teach you to adopt.
≫ Want to read more but never have the time? Just start with 5 pages before bed. You’ll soon be hooked and want to create more time & space for divulging deeper in to other worlds.
≫ I also love to write (which is probably no surprise considering that you’re reading this on my blog site!) You can write about absolutely anything, but if you’re wanting to use it as a useful tool for a healthy mindset, perhaps you could try some journaling (I found Gabby Bernstein’s ‘add more ‘ing’ to your life’ and Rebecca Campbell’s ‘Soul Inquiry’ work really useful for this)
≫ Write a gratitude journal or think of just 3 things you’re grateful for from your day. Having healthy, positive thoughts can do wonders for the way we see the world & our place in it, but if you practise this just before you go to bed, it can also massively improve your sleep quality & feelings on waking (I hope you can see how all of these steps & habits tie in nicely together!)
≫ I will forever rave about the power of gratitude as the number one magic tool for changing your outlook, creating a happy & healthy mind, and attracting more goodness in to your life. I highly recommend reading & using Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’ for this.
The above are simply suggestions personal to me, and are by no means an extensive list.
Avoid that ‘new year, new you’ pressure! Start introducing some, not all, of your healthy habits now, and the baby steps to successfully achieve them. By the time the clock strikes twelve, you’ll already be well on your way to a healthier & happier you!
And if your new habits ever slip, don’t be hard on yourself, just continue the next day.
♡ What one healthy habit, change or new activity are you hoping to make or introduce over the next year?
♡ What one small, actionable step can you take this week to make it as easy as possible for yourself to start and maintain?
♡ Share in the comments below or via Instagram! – Writing your goals down can help to make you more accountable for reaching them. Once you start, further habits & baby steps will follow more easily, and sharing them with others can really help to encourage & motivate!
Just remember whose team you’re on!…
Make it manageable, achievable and easy for yourself!
I believe in you!
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