Starting a new habit can be hard. According to a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit and approximately 66 days for it to become automatic. This number varies based on the individual and the ease of the new habit. In the spirit of self-care, our team tried some new healthy habits we want to adopt. Here’s how it’s going!
New habit: Writing in a Daily Gratitude Journal
I decided to start this new habit because I tend to worry about basically everything. This anxiety has made it easier for me to notice the things that are going wrong in my life more so than the things that are going well. Each morning, I took about five minutes to pick three things that I was grateful for that day and wrote a short description of why I was grateful for each. Sometimes they were big things like “I’m grateful for the roof over my head,” and other times it was as simple as “I’m grateful for my socks keeping my feet warm today.” No matter how big or small each thing on my list was, they all felt equally as important. Overall, I feel like this practice has made me more aware of the goodness around me and has helped me stay positive even on my worst days. It only takes a few minutes out of my day and it’s definitely a habit I plan on sticking with!
New habit: Spending Quality Time with Pets
With all that is going on during the holidays and personal responsibilities, I began noticing a decline in how much time I was allocating for winding down after a day of work and simply relaxing. Sadly enough, this apparent “lack of time” also affected the time I spent interacting with some of the other members of our household: our dogs. When I get home, these two amazing puppies always receive me as if I’m the best thing that has happened to them all day, no matter how their day may have been.
An office colleague suggested I should use this opportunity to spend more time with them each and every day, whether it meant playing in the yard for a few minutes or just really focusing on them. What a perfect idea this was! I found it to be extremely therapeutic – to be able to unplug from life’s constant distractions, even if it was for just a bit each day, and enjoying how much of a gift it is to have these two crazy but amazing dogs be part of my life.
New habit: Taking Daily Medication
Taking our medication … it seems so easy. We go to the doctor and they prescribe us medications and vitamins to make us feel better. We fill prescriptions and pick up. We bring them home, we set them on the counter and we forget! The story of my life. So, for the last thirty days, I have made an active attempt to take my medicines and vitamins on the regular! And you know what, I feel better! Mind blowing isn’t it? In order to help me remember, I downloaded the app MediSafe onto my phone and set alarms to go off to remind me what to take when. The pill bottle shaker sound and gentle reminder has definitely helped keep me accountable!
New habit: Meditation
While I’ve been meditating for a few years, I have not always been consistent so I wanted to start a new habit of meditating daily. My idea was to do it first thing in the morning to start my day on the right foot. While this sounded good in theory, it wasn’t so good in practice. I found that I wasn’t quite awake yet to get the full benefit and the demands of kids and dogs start as soon as they hear me stir! I experimented with different times of day (lunchtime, evening, mid-afternoon) as well as different types of meditation and lengths of time. Sometimes I used the Insight Timer app (either for guided meditations or just to time myself) and other times I just allowed myself to be. While I’m still working out the best way to incorporate this into every day, the benefits are undeniable. I leave each session feeling relaxed, refreshed, renewed and that I am truly tapping into my inner wisdom. I’m open to guidance that is not interfered with by daily distractions. I highly recommend meditation to everyone (even if it’s only a couple minutes!) It is particularly helpful during stressful times to clear the head and get back to neutral.
In a nutshell: While finding the time in your day to start a new habit may be difficult at first, the results were beneficial and before you know it, your new habit will be just another part of your daily routine!