This blog about forming healthy habits has been inspired by a conversation with Catherine Boddington, Founder and CEO of Boddington Coaching & Consulting Limited. She believes that everyone has a unique combination of personality traits, strengths, beliefs, likes and wants for their life. Her coaching helps people to connect the dots, choose their own future and be at their best.
She is an expert in supporting people to understand how to make better choices and form healthy habits. We are very grateful to her for speaking to us, so that we can help everyone understand how to form healthy habits to improve their wellbeing.
Being the best version of yourself is really about a whole lifestyle approach. Choosing to make small changes on a cumulative basis truly adds up. It is these things that build up to form healthy habits.
Forming healthy habits is beneficial to overall wellbeing and mental resilience, not just applicable to food – though food is a great place to start and a key part of the bigger picture. Many people have at periods in their life felt a bit trapped in a way of thinking (some maybe don’t even realise). It can seem tough to imagine things changing for the better. But it can happen, and you can make it happen!
One of the first things to do when it comes to choosing to create healthy habits is to honestly ask yourself what type of person you want to be. Do you want to exercise, eat well and look after your mental and physical wellbeing? Or, actually, are you not too bothered about any of that? Many people will seem surprised at the second option here, thinking ‘of course I care’, but once you know the answer to this, you can work towards it through your actions.
There’s no need for overwhelm or dramatic changes. Start with one thing, however small – and you’re off, you’ve started!
Ask yourself questions like ’what will I do?’ and ‘what will I eat?’. Doing these small things every day means they can soon become habits.
There are things you can do to help ensure that the new habits stick. In fact, in the end they won’t even feel like habits. They’ll just be a part of your routine and your brain won’t even be recognising it as a decision you’ve considered.
There is a great book. Atomic Habits, that looks into how our brains register change, and the four pillars to making changes successfully:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
If your decisions and the habits you want to form are made to be all of these things, you’ll find them an easy part of your lifestyle in no time!
We’re all human and we all want rewarding for our efforts! Rewards mean different things to different people though. For example, our reward for eating nutritional meals, full of goodness, could be more energy, it could be feeling better overall, or it could be that your clothes start to fit and feel better.
Habit stacking is a great thing to do as well. This removes the thought process of ‘I just don’t have time’. With Lean Lunch for example, you can order ten days in advance which is super convenient. This saves huge amounts of time in the long run compared to trying to work out and knock together meals on a daily basis. The reward here is more time to do other things. Another idea alongside this is to make the stacking fun too – as mentioned, we all want satisfaction and rewarding for our efforts. Choose a regular time each week to do your ordering, pop a podcast on and grab a cuppa. Make the habit forming enjoyable!
For some, budgeting can be a bonus of habit stacking. It allows forward thinking, planning and organisation. The reward being you know exactly what you’re spending. Lean Lunch means no more nipping to the shop at lunch time and grabbing all those extras as well as lunch! The money saved can be put in a jar as a visible reward.
It’s been a difficult year and it’s increasingly important for people to do things to look after their physical and mental wellbeing. Nutrition is a key part of this, and small steps make a big difference.
Relying on willpower isn’t guaranteed. In fact, relying on willpower to make lifestyle changes and form habits typically doesn’t work. It relies on you not having something that you are still wanting. The real difference comes from changing what it is you want in the first place. No willpower is needed if the choices you want to make are coming naturally to you.
A habit is embedded when a behaviour is no longer an active choice. It becomes automatic.
Changing behaviours is personal to everyone. Ask yourself what it is you want and take steps to achieve it. Know what the rewards are that work for you and motivate you. Make taking the steps an enjoyable experience and remember to reflect on the process and see how you have changed along the way. Give it a go today and take your first step – ordering a regular Lean Lunch delivery is a great place to start!