Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Can you believe we’ve been talking about Wellness for a year now? Where does the time go?
Over this past year, we’ve talked a lot about making small changes to improve our wellness. We’ve talked about how making one small change can benefit us, and at the beginning of the year we even talked about 20 small changes that could improve our wellness.
Today, I’d like to touch on creating (tiny) new habits to improve wellness.
When we first start thinking about improving our wellness, it can be overwhelming. We may feel we have too many things we want to change, or that we have too far to go. Our goals may seem too large and unattainable.
The key is to break those goals into smaller steps. Coming up with an action plan can help us focus on the process rather than the end result. This can remove some of the pressure and keep us from feeling overwhelmed.
Part of our action plan will most likely include forming new habits that help us incorporate behaviors that move us toward our wellness goals.
But how do we form those new habits? Creating new habits can be hard. Even more difficult is figuring out exactly how to develop the behaviors we desire into habits.
There are many opinions about how to form habits and how long it takes to establish them, and what works for one person might not work for another. Recently, though, I was introduced to a concept of habit formation that immediately made me think, “yes, this could definitely work!”
While working on one of my continuing education courses that I mentioned in my last post, I was introduced to B.J. Fogg, PhD. He is a psychiatrist at Stanford University, and he’s developed a program called Tiny Habits to help people change behaviors and form lasting habits.
In the past, the thought was that a great deal of motivation was required to form new habits. As we know, motivation can be unreliable. We can start out motivated, but motivation can wax and wane with the tides of life.
There’s good news though. Dr. Fogg says that we really only need motivation to do things that are hard to do. So what do we do? We make them simple.
I’ve talked before about how I’ve broken things down and focused on ‘one thing’ to do at a time, then doing several of those ‘one things’ to complete my daily to-do list or achieve larger goals. Dr. Fogg takes it even further and shows us specifically what we need to do to develop those small behaviors into habits – those things we do that are so automatic we don’t have to think about them.
In a nutshell, if we can determine the specific small behaviors (or habits) that we want to develop, make it simple to do them, set up something that prompts us to do each behavior, and incorporate some sort of positive emotion around accomplishing them, we can be successful.
I can’t get into too much of the information about Tiny Habits without being guilty of copyright infringement, so I’d encourage you to get the information directly from the source.
As I said earlier, Dr. Fogg has designed an entire program aimed at changing habits and I’d encourage you to check out his website, www.tinyhabits.com. Here you can learn a little more about Tiny Habits, and you can even join a 5-day Tiny Habits session to learn more about how habits work.
The website says a new session starts each Monday, so if you’re interested, please check it out. I haven’t tried it out yet; as I said, I was introduced to him through one of my Continuing Ed classes. I just watched him in several videos, and he’s not only super-smart, he’s pretty entertaining.
Improving or maintaining our wellness often depends on our habits. Making it easier to create good ones can make all the difference.
Do you find it easy or hard to develop new habits? What have you found most helpful or most challenging with it? Please share!