• Dr K

New year, healthy habits!

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Recently I was approached by The Sunday Post to contribute to an article about new year's resolutions and the healthier habits many of us strive to achieve when the new year lands. I could write a book about this topic, maybe one day I will!

I absolutely love helping my clients with these kinds of goals, whether it be changing their eating, sleeping, drinking, exercise or other habits. It's so rewarding when we learn the root cause of the unhealthy behaviour and I love the sense of hopefulness and motivation when we plan gentle strategies to achieve change. The best part though, is seeing clients' amazement when they learn how much they're really capable of, and how little struggle is required. For me, this is what it's all about.

The article was short but below is the full transcript of my contribution. Get in touch today if you have a goal for 2020 that you want to achieve in a healthy and sustainable way.

New year’s resolutions such as Veganuary and Dry January can be a great way to kick-start positive changes that we want to make in our lives. For one thing, the solidarity of a group can be hugely motivating, so it's helpful to surround yourself with others who share your goal. That might mean joining something like the Veganuary Facebook group where thousands of people share their experiences and tips to support one another.

One drawback of these programmes is that they can encourage an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Giving up something for one month won’t do much good if we’ve felt miserable in the process and we can’t wait to have it again. Keep your expectations realistic, otherwise you’re likely to throw in the towel, and then feel worse about yourself. Small, achievable changes that are sustainable in the long term will give you more success, as well as being better for your self-esteem.

Think about what need your habit has been meeting, and how you can meet it in other ways. For example, do you sometimes drink alcohol or eat unhealthy foods because you’re bored, tired, stressed, frustrated or lonely? If so, what can you bring into your life that will give you what you need? Make a list of healthy ways to treat yourself and pick one whenever you need to. It might be more time with loved ones, exercise, meditation, your favourite tv show, a good book or treating yourself to some relaxation.

It’s also vital to be clear on your motivation, and to be sure that you’re doing this because it’s truly important to you. Ask yourself these questions and write down your answers: Why do I want to make this change? What benefits will this change bring to my life? What will I need to let go of, and am I willing to do that? What’s likely to happen if I never make this change? What challenges am I likely to face and how can I plan ahead to avoid or manage them? Reread this whenever you need to.

Positive motivation is far more helpful than negative, so rather than telling yourself ‘I can’t have alcohol because it's unhealthy’, try reframing it as ‘right now, I choose to treat my body well’. That way, you move out of a restrictive, controlling mindset and focus instead on wellbeing and growth.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Listen to your self-talk and if its harsh and critical, notice what this does to your mood. Remind yourself that any progress is good progress and mentally celebrate every positive choice that you make.

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