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Getting your health back on track

The last few years have been a rollercoaster for a lot of people as we have experienced many transitions and disruptions.

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It’s normal to lose habits and routines during times of disruption, including health habits, but it is possible to put them back in place or form new ones. Now’s the time to ‘draw your finish line’ and take steps to get your health back on track.

COVID-19 is like running a marathon with no finish line.

Making new habits

1. Choose a habit you want to change:

Focus on something you have some control over.

2. Acknowledge your ‘unhelpful habit’:

  • Understand that it’s a normal to do something that feels good now, even when we know it’s not helpful in the long term.
  • To motivate yourself, ask; ‘How will the new habit be better for future me?’

3. Make one habit ‘stick’ before moving to the next:

  • Practice acceptance: ‘I might not like it, but I’m willing to do it because…’

4. Reward yourself when you have done it.

Habits are about forming ‘paths’ in your brain—and just like walking a path in the bush,‘neural’ pathways in your brain take time and repetition to form.

Set ‘good enough’ goals

• Take small steps to boost motivation and make the new health habit achievable. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the easiest, smallest thing I could do first?’

• Plan for the things that might get in the way.

• Make the steps specific and measurable. A goal like ‘eat healthier’ is hard to measure, so it’s hard to see the wins. Motivation needs success. Try specific goals like, ‘I will eat two pieces of fruit today’, then you’ll know when you’ve done it.

• Be kind, but honest. Reflect: ‘Did I achieve my goal?’, ‘What got in the way?’, ‘How can I adjust?’.

Write down:

My ‘good enough’ health goal:

Be kind to yourself. Ask yourself, ‘What would I say to my best friend if they were in this situation?’

Get support

Having support helps us overcome obstacles, motivates us and keeps us accountable.

Who can you ask?

  • A family member or friend
  • A work colleague
  • Doctor
  • Mental health practitioner
  • Mentor or coach