“New year, new you”…
Overused quote ~ Anonymous
Ever hear that phrase?
You might have had a previous relationship with New Year’s resolutions, maybe healthy, maybe unhealthy.
Or it might be an ongoing, complicated, “on-off” relationship that happens at the same time every year.
Early January is typically a time of renewed interest in gym memberships and making new commitments to yourself.
This can happen following the additional weight gain that may accompany the festive season (see graph below)
Ever wonder why your behaviour – be it food intake, alcohol consumption, exercise habits, etc – changes so drastically in this period compared to any other time of year?
Or why your attempts to set resolutions don’t seem to stick! – Don’t stress; research suggests that somewhere between 80-92% of New Years Resolutions, fail.
The answer probably lies in your habits.
Habits are an amazing display of your brain’s cleverness at work.
Your brain is super-efficient at automating tasks that are boringly repetitive.
However this ‘efficiency’ at automating tasks and behaviours can often be our undoing – especially when it comes to our health.
Understanding the basics of habit formation can help you review any habits that you’re not fond of, and replace them with newer, healthier habits.
So what are habits?
Habits are the activities, routines or behaviours that you repeatedly do, in most cases automatically.
They are your brains way of automating repetitive behaviours to free up extra brain capacity for other, more exciting endeavours.
Remember when you first learnt to drive a car? You had to think about everything with so much conscious effort. Foot on brake, ignition on, shift to reverse, check mirrors, check traffic, accelerator on, turn steering wheel…and that’s only to get you out of your driveway!
Learning something new takes a huge amount of brainpower at first.
However now, you don’t even think about driving with such conscious effort.
You can probably drive, change the radio, maintain a phone conversation, entertain and feed kids in the back – all whilst effortlessly navigating yourself from A to B.
What about this one; Do you recall putting on your pants and shoes this morning?
Remember the order of which pant leg you put on first? What about which foot you first put your sock and shoe on?
You might have difficulty remembering this, mainly because you rely on your brains habits to automate these processes.
Habits are super important in that they ultimately become who we are!
We are what we repeatedly do!
Your current state of physical health is the by-product of your eating and exercise habits, up until now.
Your current state of financial health is the by-product of your spending and saving habits, up until now.
Your current state of mental health is the by-product of your thought habits, up until now.
These habits inform every aspect of our lives in all areas.
So, if you’ve taken a review of your previous year, and are looking to the year ahead with some changes that you’d like to implement, consider your habits and how they’re shaping your life.
Consider the benefits of having an adaptable nervous system – Chiropractic care has been shown to improve neural plasticity – to help get you there quicker.
Otherwise, I’d highly recommend checking out the work of James Clear, one of the best writers on the topic of Habits
Have a read of James’ book (just added to our studio lending library) or check out his resources here and get more familiar with the way that you can shape your habits to design the life you want.