STOPtober: Kickstart Healthy Habits
It's October which means STOPtober. As much as we hate to admit it, humans aren’t perfect. You probably know what you should do—like exercise regularly, eat well and get plenty of sleep—but this doesn’t always measure up and life can get in the way.
Sometimes what starts as an occasional slip-up or coping mechanism becomes a full-fledged bad habit, can you even remember why/ when/ how you started the habit to begin with?!
Throughout October we are running a Wellness Wednesday series with a Mindfulness and Health Coach to give you the best hacks for a healthier, happier you so keep your eye out on those episodes. But for now, here are 5 simple steps that you can take to break unhealthy habits that are no longer serving you (let’s be honest, were they ever?).
The good news, it’s entirely possible to kick your bad habits, and we’re here to help you with that. Share this with your partner, best friend, sibling or anyone who has a really annoying habit (hint, hint).
STEP 1: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WORK ON?
You need to prime the habit-breaking process by thinking in terms of specific, doable behaviors. This could be:
- Not dumping your shoes in the living room but putting them in the cupboard
- Not eating in front of the TV but at the dining room table
- Going for a half-hour run five days a week
- Increasing your fruit and veg intake each week
STEP 2: ACCOUNTABILITY
Make a bad habit a little more painful and you might ditch it for good. Money is a great motivator, so you could pay your friends a little bit of money each time they catch you doing that thing you want to stop doing. It works the other way too: Reward yourself for beating your habit every day
STEP 3: IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
Forming better new habits takes time and effort, but breaking established bad habits may be even harder. So be patient with yourself and instead of making dramatic adjustments, try focusing on one habit and the smallest steps you can take. With food and dieting, reducing one teaspoon of sugar in your tea or switching cream in your coffee to plant-based milk can make a big difference in the long run and may inspire additional small but meaningful changes.
STEP 4: REFLECT
Chances are you’re going to have bad days. Setbacks are normal and we should expect them. Have a plan to get back on track and use the relapse as a way to understand what happened and how you can avoid it next time
STEP 5: IF-THEN PLANHabits are loops that we repeat automatically. A cue triggers our routine, we get the reward from it, and then repeat. Just remember to keep your plan as simple as possible. This flowchart can help you reboot your habit and create the If-Then plan.