Lockdown - 6 Tips for New Habits

With the next 28 days stuck at home you might be thinking, what am I going to do with this time on my hands. Some of you may be working, some of you may be homeschooling and time might be a little scarce. However, it is important to put in a little time for yourself as this could be a great opportunity to form some good new habits. With 4 weeks on our hands, it might just be the right amount of time to make that next habit stick.

Good habits and bad habits are hard to break but what is unique, once they are formed, is they usually require little or no effort.  They often happen, it seems automatically, and you do them without ever realizing how easy it was for you to do them in the first place. If we could just tap into that good habit autopilot, then our lives would be so much easier. Some people are addicted to exercise, yet others are addicted to substances, so whatever habits you have this may be a good opportunity to assess which ones are driving you in the right direction. You may want to take note as I am sure we all have a few habits we would like to rid ourselves of that may be on our list.

With Ontario’s stay-at-home order for the next 28 days this is the perfect opportunity for us to look to do something a little more positive with our time. I am sure there are many areas in our lives we would like to improve, so if these useful tips help you make that next habit stick then I’m sure you will be glad you read this in a month’s time.

  1. Start small. If your habit is to get a little healthier, you are probably not going to run a marathon by the end of the month. Maybe your goal is to get moving more often, so perhaps adding a morning or evening walk to your routine might be a great start. If you are not too swamped with work and have a little bit of extra free time perhaps an extra weekly karate class might keep you moving in the right direction. Whatever the habit is that you are trying to form make sure it is realistic and easy to start, because at the end of the day starting and action are more important than dreaming and thinking. 
  1. Make it daily. If your plan is being extra healthy Monday to Friday and then becoming a weekend warrior, you might find yourself staying idle. Good and bad habits take consistency and if you can make this part of your daily routine it will make it a lot easier for you to keep it going. Sometimes people try to do way too much in the beginning only to lose their motivation early on. Extreme dieting and extreme fitness might seem like the fastest way to get to your goal, but are they sustainable? If you take a daily realistic approach with action you are more likely to succeed in the longer run. 
  1. Remind yourself. One of my favourite features on the iPhone is a Siri create a reminder, and I use this constantly when creating tasks for First Choice Martial Arts. There is no way I can remember everything so when something is important, I will often create a reminder so that I do not forget. If you see that habit reminder pop up every morning on your phone it might put you in the right frame of mind and help you build that habit on days when you choose to forget. 
  1. Replace a habit with another habit. If your goal is to watch a little less TV each night, then you better find a way to fill that time when you are sitting around. Maybe it is time to go online and shop for a new book and replace an old habit with a new habit. Whatever habit you are trying to remove it is important to replace it with some thing that is going benefit you in the longer run. I would be curious to know how many snacks and drinks get consumed because of boredom and too much free time. Free time can be great if you know how to use it but if you find yourself indulging in bad habits then it is probably a good idea to fill it with something else. 
  1. Remove temptation. If you are trying to eat healthier and your pantry is filled with lots of junk and snacks, it is going to be hard every time you open that door. Going back to reminding ourselves it might be useful to add a reminder when we do our shopping so that you can tweak it in a healthier way. Those chocolate bars and chips are near the check out counters by design. My former neighbour used to own a Canadian Tire and one of their biggest sellers is the lollypops on the way out the door. Impulse items are strategically put at the counters to tempt people upon check out. If you can find a way to remove temptation even if it means creating a reminder or using some self discipline, it is going to be a lot easier for you to build that better habit. 
  1. Do it for yourself. Probably the most important part of building any habit is doing it for yourself. If you are doing it out of desperation, you will make some progress but if you are doing from a point of inspiration you will go much further. Inspiration and doing it for yourself will motivate you to the point where are you will let nothing stand in your way. As well if you create a positive shift not only does it make your life better, but it also helps those around you. If it is positive and worth sharing, feel free to share your success story with friends and family to make a greater impact for the greater good. 

Surely, Ontario’s stay-at-home order was not something we all expected but there may an opportunity here for us to use this to our advantage. In next 28 days it would be nice to have something new to show for during this time, as we do our part to stop the spread.  If it can be a win-win as we do our part, as a good citizen, then in a month’s time you will be that much further ahead. I am sure on May 6th it is going to be very empowering looking back at all the progress you have made as we go into the summer. Whether it is educating yourself, helping your child or getting a little healthier I am sure there is something we can all work towards this month that will make our time well spent.

Lets' check back in 28 days…

Sensei Chris