Celebrations are commonplace for most as they ring in the new year. Usually, a list of resolutions isn’t far behind either in someone’s mind or a handwritten list tucked away in the abyss of papers, soon forgotten as life’s habitual practices take over.
Why are our goals so often neglected as time and old habits carry forward?
The answer isn’t an easy one. As individualistic as one’s nutrition journey can be, so can the directive of turning old habits into new ones.
Goals stimulate a guide in momentum and focus in your life. They help to invigorate a sense of self-mastery and an alignment in focus. Not only do goals motivate us, but they can have a positive effect on our mental health and both our professional and personal successes.
As a hypothetical example, Suzie comes into my office to achieve better skin health and energy balance with the sole intent of looking to supplements in accomplishing this.
Upon further discovery, it appears that Suzie enjoys a sedentary lifestyle, enjoys a nighttime routine where sleep only comes at 3 a.m., and has poor hydration and hygiene practices combined with mismanaged eating.
Shifting her mindset alone from relying on supplements for her results to new habit-forming suggestions comes first. Prioritizing her body’s needs by setting goals to accomplish new habits in order for her body to reap the rewards is where we begin.
Making incremental adjustments which move you closer to achieving your goal is the practice of habit forming.
Now that Suzie has an identifiable goal, how does she implement them towards her daily practices?
A habit is a behaviour done with little or no thought, while a routine invokes a series of behaviours frequently and intentionally, then repeated. A behaviour has to be a regularly performed routine before it can become a habit at all. Pick the behaviour you want to turn into a habit mindfully.
If Suzie decides to drink more water throughout the day, she must be realistic about the process. It will take patience, self-discipline, and commitment on her part. If Suzie’s goal is to have clear skin, she must also practice better hygiene and stop touching her face. If Suzie’s circadian rhythms are disrupted due to poor sleep hygiene, and she corrects it, her body systems will react more favourably.
Breaking habits into chunks or micro habits might be an easier way to accomplish making them and following through. Either way, remember to be realistic and kind to yourself along your path.
Journal or designate a friend or family member to share your experience with along the way for accountability. Keep checking in and reward yourself with positive thoughts towards your accomplishments daily.
Turn the old into the new, so the end of 2023 can be fresh with new intent for entirely new changes within yourself.
Story submitted by Shana Daniel, RHN.