Challenge yourself: let’s build healthier habits this year

First of all, Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again when we start to think about making changes. It’s really easy to go overboard and to try to do too much at once which can have the opposite effect – we feel overwhelmed and burnt out before we even have the chance to get started. But how to form an actual, lasting habit? In this post we look at three ways to mindfully make the most of the new year.

1- Build healthy habits

Aim to start small with new habits. As an example, instead of going to the gym every day for the next two weeks try just going twice a week and spending a maximum of one hour there. You’ll leave feeling confident and happy but without the negative association of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

In order to build a healthy, lasting habit the most important thing to do is to build a positive association with the habit in the mind. Focus on how you feel about your new habit – such as the increased energy levels and the happier and increased mood from exercising.

There are multiple free habit tracking apps you can download for Android and iPhone that will also do wonders for keeping you motivated. Whilst not a habit tracker, I use Insight Timer to log my meditation sessions. Just logging it each day gives a small sense of accomplishment and being able to look back on how I’ve done over the past week really helps keep me motivated and on track. Life can be hectic and it’s easy to lose track of your goals and eventually forget them.

One more thing, remind yourself often of why you want to form this habit. If your goal was to say, meditate more regularly, then remind yourself before each session that you are working towards a calmer mind.

2 – Aim for ambition

Slightly different, but try doing one thing wildly different this year, something ambitious that you’ve been wanting to try for a while. It might be starting a blog, starting a new business or making a push to meet more people. Something that puts you out of your comfort zone slightly. It can give you a real high and be refreshing to try something new and it can also do wonders for your mental wellbeing and confidence.

For me, my ambitious project started just before the new year and it was to start! My new small habit is to increase my meditation to twice a day. By doing a short 10 minute session in the evening I’m hoping to start small to maintain the habit.

3 – Take it easy

Above all else, aim to be gentle on yourself this year with whatever you do. You are a person, not a machine. Only in movies do people make stark changes overnight and then stick to them. We’re often our harshest critics and no good comes from it.

Thank you for reading and happy new year! Feel free to follow Together Mindful for more on mental wellbeing.

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