Looking for the habit calendar shown below?
You can download it HERE
As lockdown #2 starts in England tomorrow, I thought I’d share a bit of a guide to creating some gentle habits that might help you maintain a sense of routine and purpose over the next four weeks.
Why habits? Well, they’re the stuff of our everyday life - in fact, they account for about 40 percent of our behaviours on any given day.
With a bit of effort we can practice adding new habits which support our mental and physical health, which bring us towards a bigger goal, which give us some purpose, help us learn a new hobby or spend our energy in places that support our values.
And now we have four weeks during which we can work on creating some habits to help us through this next lockdown. So with this in mind, let’s talk how.
Choose 3 small habits that feel good for you, and how often you’ll do them.
Keep them simple and gentle - a 10 minute walk outside, reading 5 pages of a book each day, turning your phone off at 9 and practicing a wind-down before bed, eating a piece of fruit each morning, practicing guitar or a new hobby for 5 minutes a day, tidying one drawer in the house, calling two friends each week. Think about things which can help your mental health at this time - this is for you, no-one else.
Here’s the important bit - keep your habits very achievable. If you want to get to 10 minutes of meditation, start with 5 and build upwards. This is a really big part of making the process enjoyable and building your confidence.
Have a think about where your new habits will fit into your existing routine. By tying each action to something you do already, you’ll make it a habit faster.
For example I’ll do 5 minutes of headspace BEFORE I start work, ‘I’ll walk BEFORE lunchtime each day’
Set yourself a reminder - a gentle nudge to carry out your habits. This might be a ‘post it’ stuck on a mirror, or a reminder on your phone that goes off at the time you want to practice your habit for example.
Track your habits using a calendar or grid. There’s something really powerful about doing this - it acts as a reminder, it gives you a sense of achievement and gives you a nice visual of your progress.
I’ve created a really simple 4 week calendar you can use to track your habits - and you can download IT HERE.
Give yourself a “YOOHOO! or a fist pump” each time you carry out your habit. It might sound silly, but you want to acknowledge your awesomeness, and send a little message to your brain that you achieved what you set out to do. Over time, this will help solidify your habit.
And that's it! A simple guide to habits for lockdown. I'd love to hear how you get on and see your habits in progress - you can tag me and your calendar on Instagram, and we can be accountability buddies.