6 easy ways to spring clean and create new habits that will stick – Healthista

It’s that time of year that brings about the ‘Spring Clean’ – and we don’t just mean your cupboards. Behaviour change specialist, Dr Heather McKee shares 6 easy ways to spring clean your life and create new habits that will stick 

Spring is the perfect time to dejunk, have a good clear out and think about establishing a few new habits to take you through the year. 

A survey of over 2,000 people by ethical supplement brand Viridian who launched a nationwide ‘No Junk Campaign’ found that the top three areas of junk cluttering up daily lives are diet, noisy social media, and a cluttered home environment. 

So, whatever area you’re looking to dejunk in, if you want to make lasting changes, secrets from the science of behavioural change can help set you up for success.

the top three areas of junk cluttering up daily lives are diet, noisy social media, and a cluttered home environment

Here, straight from the Viridian Dejunk your Life Report 2024 habit change expert Dr Heather McKee takes us through how to spring clean life. 

Create habits that stick 

Ever wondered why making lasting changes can be so hard? Well, it’s complicated, Behavioural Scientist Dr Heather McKee has been researching the secrets of what makes people stick to healthy habits for over ten years.

Here’s her top six secrets to making effective changes that will enrich your life, at a pace that suits you (the rest can be found in the report here).

#1 Choose one goal at a time

Just like we can gather clutter in our homes and on our phones, we can also get tempted to pile goals onto goals and try to achieve lots of different changes at this time of year. But the research has shown that doesn’t work. 

In fact, one of the reasons resolutions fail is a psychological phenomenon called ‘goal dilution’, where we try to change too many things at once. It’s like trying to declutter your entire house at once instead of focusing on one specific area, like your wardrobe.

So, as you make changes, prioritise one area at once and focus on that. By concentrating your efforts, you conserve willpower and increase your likelihood of success.

READ MORE: Is snacking one of your bad habits? 7 ways this behaviour change expert says you can stop

easy-ways-to-spring-clean-one-goal-at-a-time-wardrobe-.jpg easy-ways-to-spring-clean-one-goal-at-a-time-wardrobe-.jpg

#2 Make it positive and specific

That means, it’s more helpful to choose something you will do, rather than something you won’t do. For example, if you want to give up eating crisps every afternoon at work, replace ‘I want to give up crisps’ with ‘I will have carrot sticks and hummus (or another healthy snack) instead of crisps every work day when I feel hungry.’ 

Make sure it’s as specific as possible to add another layer of positivity. Giving your goal a specific frame will help you stick with it. The research also found that those who sought support for their resolutions were more likely to stick to them.

#3 Be an annoying two year old – ask ‘Why?’ five times

In establishing your goals, find out why you want to complete them. What contribution will that change make to your life? Why is that good for you? Why do you want it?

This reflective process will help you align your goal with your intrinsic motivation

You need to clearly define the purpose behind the lasting change and the benefits it’s going to give you. 

This reflective process will help you align your goal with your intrinsic motivation. That’s the kind of motivation that comes from inside of you that you’re most likely to stick to (as opposed to extrinsic motivation that comes from forces outside you). 

There’s a psychological technique called the ‘five whys’ that can help you unravel the layers of your desires and help you figure out why you want something. Simply keep asking why five times.

READ MORE: 3 steps to breaking bad habits from a world-class willpower expert

Spring-clean-your-life-easy-ways-to-stick-to-your-habits-.jpg Spring-clean-your-life-easy-ways-to-stick-to-your-habits-.jpg

#4 What matters most to you now?

Think of the various aspects of your life like the burners on a hob: you’ve got your friends, your family, your career, and your health. You can’t keep all of those burning at the same time.

So, while some might be turned down, like your social life, others like your career or health (as in the example above) might be turned up. It doesn’t mean other areas have to be completely neglected but the key is about understanding what season of your life you are in right now and putting most of your energy into that.

#5 Prioritise foundational habits

When you’re deciding what to choose as your focus area, try and pick something that will influence other areas. This is what we call a ‘foundational habit’.

like going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day

For example, say you chose a specific sleep related goal, like going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day. That will have an impact on how well you eat, on your motivation to exercise, your productivity at work and your mood in your relationship.

That means one habit will have many different returns. It’s those returns – the little positive effects you begin to feel in other areas of your life – that help you stick to it.

READ MORE: 6 steps to creating your ideal summer workout routine

SPRING-CLEAN-healthy-habits-wake-at-same-time-every-day-.jpg SPRING-CLEAN-healthy-habits-wake-at-same-time-every-day-.jpg

#6 Finally, make it fun!

This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many people ignore the idea of choosing goals they might like doing. In fact, joy is a primary driver in intrinsic motivation.

Behavioural science studies have shown that people who approach activities with a sense of fun are more likely to stick with them. Whether it’s finding joy in a workout (maybe by listening to your favourite music) or making mundane tasks more enjoyable, infusing fun into your habits, increases their sustainability. 

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Source link