Busy lives keep us from a lot of things we know are good for us, but there are ways to ensure we do at least a few little things for ourselves and as soon as we make it a habit, we are unlikely to skip or forget them again.
This may seem a long and arduous process, but it isn’t. The truth is, it can take as little as 21 days to get into a good habit and up to 66 if it is a trickier task. Still, this means that my the end of July, you could have even the more intricate ones down. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Some of the easy ones everyone should do are
- drink more water
- have time away from phones
- plan down time
- go for a walk/run outside
- eat more fruit and vegetables
- have a morning or bedtime routine
- make your bed in the morning
You may be doing some of this already and could be looking for other goals and habits such as a regular workout, a certain type of nutrition, time to be with friends, family, or your partner, financial habits such as creating a budget for every month or only shopping with a list to avoid impulse buys.
What you want to improve is up to you, but in order to make it a habit, try and pick things which you can include in your daily routine and the ideas above may help.
Once you have set your goals, think about how to implement them. Here is an example:
If you want to drink more water, decide whether it helps you to have a bottle with you to remind you at all times (do you sometimes get thirsty and only get dehydrated because you have no water to hand? Then keeping bottles at your desk, at work, in your car and in your gym bag could help) or do you want to get into the habit of drinking one large glass of water in the morning and before every meal? It is up to you.
If you are planning time to unplug, make it realistic. Don’t try and make it too long at first and try and find a time which fits well into your schedule. First thing in the morning or just before bed may not work for you if you like to check the news or scroll through social media. Instead, try and have a meal (including prep and clean up) without your phone.
Then it’s time to put it into practice.
You can make a tally on a sheet to see how many days you succeeded, you can put a reminder up (it may be a bottle of water next to your bed), or you can get an app which tracks your progress.
Remember that you can still make it a habit even with the odd exception. If you are out one evening and miss your bedtime routine, keep going the next day. Habits are good for our everyday life, but there will always be a day where things go differently. As long as we have interiorised a habit, it will come back to us as soon as our situation has returned to normal and it will be a reassuring constant to come back to in life. My favourite example is coming home to a made bed. Of course, there are days you rush out and come back to find it unmade, and it’s ok. But as soon as you take the time to make it again, the sight of a neat and tidy bed will feel relaxing and give you a new safe place to feel at home and let your guard down, because habits help us do that more easily and it is one of the best ways to release some of the tension from our everyday life.