Habit-Maker Or Habit-Breaker?!
It’s January, and if you’re a woman, I’m sure you know what that means. Your social feeds are probably full of endless #fitspo, dry January posts, new fitness fads, body transformations and healthy eating. For some reason, January, aside from officially being the most depressing month, is the time that one is expected to completely transform their lives and be ‘healthy’ for 31 days.
I vividly remember 2015, post-gorging on a cheeseboard on Boxing Day and I wrote a list of my New Year’s Resolutions. I was determined, presumably aided by the several strong gin and tonics I’d been downing, combined with an entire Camembert, that I was going to re haul my life in 2016 (or for at least 31 days…)
I would work out 5 times a week, eat ‘clean’ (whatever that means…), give up my daily 4pm can of Diet Coke, in fact, give up caffeine altogether, and of course, stop drinking for the entire month of January and never be late. The first to fall was Diet Coke… New Year’s Day produced quite a hangover, which resulted in many a can of Diet Coke being guzzled, whilst the second resolution was halted in the form of a Domino’s Pizza to get over the said hangover that evening. Undeterred, I wrote off New Year’s Day and decided my resolutions would begin on the first day upon returning to work. As I walked through the door to work, 7 minutes late due to a tree on the train tracks, I couldn’t help but feel like a massive failure. I felt unable to stick to anything, I was a quitter.
Had I not tried hard enough? Probably. Was it worth beating myself up about? In hindsight no, but at the time, I remember thinking, ‘If I’m unable to stick to even the most basic of ‘adult’ tasks, what hope was there for me?’ Six years later, of course I know this is ridiculous. Your brain (and body) will find it incredibly difficult to rewire the habits overnight that it’s held in many cases for a lifetime.
Since my 2016 resolution failure, I’ve made a conscious decision not to wait to make changes. I have to hold myself accountable and commit, but I also have to be okay with ’slipping’ slightly. Setting incredibly high expectations, expecting to wake up one morning and completely transform your lifestyle is unrealistic and takes a toll on your emotional and sometimes physical health (yo-yo dieting anyone?!) The boring overused phrase ‘everything in moderation’ comes to mind. I guess it’s overused due to it being completely true, as I believe this is key to setting long-term healthy habits (and sticking to them.)
The first step is to recognise that change is necessary: Fed up of feeling hungover in March? Put down the Sauvignon for a week and reassess your drinking habits. Feel like you’re not moving enough in August? Book that body attack class you’ve been eyeing up. Feeling lonely in September? Join a netball team, sign up for a pottery class… whatever it is, the time is now, don’t hang around waiting for a new year or a new week to begin.
Once you’ve committed, the second, and probably the most difficult challenge, is to stick to your new habit. Building good habits is, of course, down to you, but there are some helpful apps on the market designed to make you feel more in control of your commitments and help you achieve your goals.
First up is Productive This simple app is designed to help build positive life-changing habits. Once you input the habits you wish to commit to, you’re able to set personal goals, track progress and improvements, take part in challenges and even grow awareness of your own productivity and motivation with personalised expert insights.
StickK was developed by behavioural economists at the prestigious Yale University. On signing up, you create a commitment contract with yourself and the app to reach your goals. It provides an incentive and accountability tool for committed individuals that are looking to leverage behavioural techniques to their advantage and stickK (see what we did there?!) to their goals. Like-minded goal setters can interact, offer support, and share best practices. For added motivation, you can assign a friend or family member to check your data to ensure you’re on the way to reaching your goals.
Streaks, is my favourite productivity app and is built around encouraging you to maintain a 12-day streak of a good habit. Every day you complete a task, your streak is extended. Choose or create up to 24 tasks to complete, so whether that’s (in my case) drink 2 litres of water a day, practise Spanish for 20 minutes and walk at least 8k steps, it makes building good habits seem achievable, and if you’re falling behind the app will remind you by sending a notification. The other great thing about this app is that it’s easily linked with the Health app, one of the most popular apps on the IOS. Used together, you’ll be able to develop healthy habits with ease.
Want to build good habits with your pals? Similar to the above apps, Habit Tracker helps you to build good habits and reach your goals, allows you to track your progress, integrates with the Health app and reminds you when you’re slipping. The unique feature of Habit Tracker is that it allows you and your friends to build habits together by reminding and encouraging each other.
Happy habit-breaking or habit-making!
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Isabelle @ Glorious XXX
N.B. Glorious is not affiliated with any of the mentioned apps. We are not sponsored by them and do not receive any monetary gain from featuring these products.
Photo: Sex And The City / HBO