While summer has just arrived, it is not too late to do a bit of “mental spring cleaning” to declutter your mind and set the foundation to grow some new wellness routines and habits in the summer ahead. Winters in Canada can be long and the winter blues can set in and still hang around even when the weather has turned. So why not make a commitment to healthier and better habits that the new season can support.
Choose a new routine or habit you would like to implement. We all have old habits we would like to target or something new we have been meaning to implement into our daily wellness routine. Try not to change too much at once, as juggling too many routines increases the likelihood that one will fail and you will abandon all the work you have been putting in to yourself. Instead, choose one action or activity that you have wanted to implement and follow the steps below. Once that new routine becomes a habit, try the process again with a new routine, then repeat.
Be realistic. Is this a goal you are motivated to follow through with? Have you tried to make this new routine happen before? Take some time to evaluate if this is achievable for you given your current life priorities. If it has failed in the past, ask yourself why that happened.
Do some research. Make sure you really understand how to prepare yourself to take on this challenge. You don’t need to spend hours at the library, but a google search and a few youtube videos should help you feel more prepared with information to get started.
Write it down. Write down the new routine you want to implement. Be clear and specific about your intentions. Think about how it would look if you were implementing that routine right now. Is it something you can easily visualize and do in a single step? If not, try simplifying it and making it a single activity you can see yourself doing routinely throughout your week. End your note with some thoughts on why this new routine is a commitment that is meaningful to you.
Give yourself reminders. Let’s face it, we’re all pretty busy and distracted. Set a reminder or alarm on your phone if you find you tend to forget. Be mindful when choosing your alarm or reminders. When could it alert you so you can take action right away?
Positive reinforcement. Try to keep a record of when you have successfully accomplished your new routine. There are many apps that will help track this (e.g. Streaks) or you can create a habit tracker in a bullet journal. Often seeing your progress is in itself reinforcing. If you miss a day, look at this as an opportunity to congratulate yourself for getting back at it. If it is helpful, consider providing yourself with some sort of reward for successfully completing a routine “streak”.
Find a buddy. Try to find a partner to join you in implementing this routine or at least tell someone in your life about this commitment. The support of your partner will help you get through the tough times and may help you feel more obliged to stick to your plan.
Forgive yourself. We all fall into old habits or lose new ones. Breaking the routine is not a failure, it is an opportunity to assess why your intentions broke down and re-engage with the new information you’ve learned.
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.