How to change your ways and stick with it 

Much as we want to, it’s hard to change long standing habits. Making changes that last takes patience and perseverance. 

Changing our ways for good can seem daunting. It means needing to face established patterns of behaviour, or habits, that might be causing us harm. Once we’ve identified habits we might want to change we then need to interrupt our patterns that often occur automatically, without us even realising. Tricky! At the same time, we need to nurture and put into place new and unfamiliar actions. It’s a lot to take on. The good news is that with the right preparation and support, we can all reap the rewards of positive change. 

Start the journey by taking the time to explore your own personal values, the things you hold dear. Reflect on why you want to change. Your inner motivation will help drive you forward and keep you on track. Your ‘why’ to lose weight might be to improve a health condition or to be able to run around after your grandchildren. It will be deeply personal to you and the more specific you make it, the better. 

Breaking long term change down into smaller achievable ambitions makes it less overwhelming and more achievable. For example, start with 2 push-ups per day or drink an extra glass of water per day and build up steadily to your goals day by day and week by week.  

Instead of focusing on the outcome, we can look at what we can change now. Small changes add up to achieve success. For example, the end goal might be to lose weight, but that can be a big goal to take on board. Instead, breaking it down and aiming to walk for 20 minutes, 4 times per week over the course of a month is more achievable. Little by little, these habits and behaviours take root, and lead you towards long term change. The S.M.A.R.T principle may come in handy. Try to keep your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.  

Research shows that repeating new behaviours is a really important part of them becoming habits. The more we do them, the more we’re programming our brain to carry out these tasks with less and less effort until they become second nature.  Change can be challenging, for sure. Reward yourself and celebrate victories – however small. Positive rewards for healthy habits signal to the brain that it will be rewarded for doing them, and so you’ll want to do them more. 


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