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We are “supposed” to have time for everything. But the reality is that there is never enough time in today’s society. We live too fast. We are slaves to our own time. We have to work, study, because it is never enough and the best thing for our professional career is to be constantly training, learning and improving. We have to take time out to cook healthy meals, to see and care for our family, to do some sport, as well as to do some volunteering that fills our souls. And then, if that’s not enough, we have to have a social life and do some of what we really like to do.
Is your head full of “shoulds” and “musts”? Congratulations, the first step is always to identify them. Do you think you need help to prioritise? In this Wemby article we give you some guidelines. It is possible that, within these self-imposed or socially imposed obligations, you think you have no control over your routines. But surprise, this is not the case.
As Vida Saludable explains, a habit is a habit acquired by frequency of repetition of an act or, in other words, it is a behaviour that is performed automatically and without effort. Therefore, a healthy habit is an activity that helps you to improve your physical, mental, emotional and social health.
Do you want to introduce a new habit and don’t know how to incorporate it? Today we give you some tips. We will start little by little…
Step 1. Start as soon as possible
Once you have identified the new habit you want to introduce into your routine, it might be a good idea to start as soon as possible. Would it help to have a pre-determined date in your calendar or diary?
If it’s important to you, you have a place to start: set a date and stick to it.
Step 2. Try associating it with previously established habits in your routine
Psicología y Mente explains how the ideal is to try to introduce only one habit at the beginning, at most two, and hope to achieve it after a while.
Maybe you feel like starting to eat better, do more sport or read more often, but what if you start with a few alerts on your shopping list? Or you could divide the time you spend between social media and reading. Or try to associate that time while you get to work with some exercise, e.g. you can take the stairs instead of the lift.
Step 3. Break that goal down into smaller goals
This is the most important point on our list today. If your goal is: change your lifestyle, learn to say no, love yourself more… Probably, even though you are motivated enough, you will feel overwhelmed at some point. The above are healthy objectives, important for many people, which may fit in with their deepest values and most important goals. However, if they are formulated in this way, they are likely to be seen as unaffordable and sooner or later may be abandoned.
That’s why Wemby recommends that you break down your goal into smaller, more achievable and measurable sub-goals. Stop and think: How can I divide this goal into at least 5 achievements?
Step 4. Give yourself a reward each time you achieve one of these milestones
Try positive reinforcement every time you reach one of these “small” goals. You don’t need to throw a big party, but acknowledge when you’ve done something well, even if it’s just positive self-talk. You deserve it, you’ve earned it.
Step 5️. Normalise small falls. Falling is different from relapsing
In any therapeutic process it can be common to fall. This, rather than climbing a mountain and reaching the top, is often more like a roller coaster, with big and small ups and downs and the occasional complete turnaround. That’s life itself and that’s how any process of change in your routines will be. Therefore, it is very important to be clear about the difference between a fall and a relapse. Falling down never implies a failure in the process; on the contrary, it can provide us with an extremely valuable learning experience.
As La Mente es Maravillosa explains, it is not realistic to think that we can transform our reality from one day to the next. On the one hand, the fall is the occurrence of the problematic behaviour (or the absence of our target behaviour) only once, in a punctual and isolated way. That is, after a period of time implementing the new habits, the previous harmful behaviour is incurred, but as a singular, one-off event. In contrast, relapse is a process in which the person actively and voluntarily repeats the problem behaviour. The latter is reached depending on our attitude towards the former.
Contacting professionals can provide you with a personalised and timely solution, before reaching serious problems of depression, stress, anxiety or burnout. Psychologists can help you find a balance between your personal life and your work before it is too late. They can also help you incorporate new habits into your routine!
At Wemby, we make an initial assessment of the problem, then match you with the right professional and design a tailor-made plan. This process is constantly reviewed and when finished we provide analytics and a final report of our work.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all. I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.
If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.