Turning your resolutions into habit

woman meditating
In last week’s blog post we told you about our co-founders and their new year’s resolutions for 2017. It seems they are not alone in having made resolutions which focus more on self care. According to Statistic Brain, resolutions revolving around life or self improvement were the second most popular - after that old stalwart, losing weight. The problem is that only 8 per cent of people manage to achieve their new year’s resolutions, and for most of us now is about the sort of time when they either give up or just plain forget about them.

We all live busy lives with a lot going on; it’s hard to squeeze in something - anything - when we’re already doing so much. So it stands to reason that a new habit we decided on at new year - a time when most of us were lost in a sea of bank holidays - might now be too much to keep up.

Now is the time to focus on what you really want. Was your new year’s resolution the same one you make every year? Are you happy to let it fall by the wayside and pick it up for another couple of weeks next January, or do you actually want to keep this one up? Here are some ideas to help you stick at your resolution if you’re struggling right now:

Schedule it in

Whatever your resolution is, make a space for it in your diary. In last week’s blog our co-founder Fay told us that her resolution was to meditate daily. Rather than just hope she would find time in her busy schedule to fit in her meditation, Fay began setting her alarm clock 30 minutes early each day. Similarly, our co-founder Lara schedules “grey time” into her day to ensure she has space to breathe.

If you don’t schedule it in, your old routine and daily life will take up all of your day, and you’ll find there’s no spare time for whatever your resolution was. If you resolved to eat more healthily, schedule in time to plan meals and cook them. If you resolved to exercise more, schedule in time to go to the gym! Whatever habit you have resolved to create, you need to make sure there is dedicated time for it in your resolution.

Make use of aromatherapy 
de-stress scentered balm`

Aromatherapy can really help when it comes to forming new habits and sticking to resolutions. Our Focus balm is great for that helping you to get into the right frame of mind for getting things done - whatever those things are. Use your sense of smell as a trigger to your mind that it’s time to perform your new habit, whether that’s meditating, reading a new book or clearing down your emails each day.

The blend of rosemary, mint and clary sage encourages the mind to focus on the task at hand, to tune out potential distractions. When you’re trying to get a new habit to stick it can be so easy to become distracted by the myriad things daily life can throw at you; use some Focus balm to draw your mind back to what you resolved to do.

Think about how you’ll feel when you’ve done it

Why do you clean your teeth? You probably think you clean your teeth because you don’t want an expensive dental bill, but in actual fact studies show that those of us who have a habit of brushing our teeth in the mornings and at night do it because of how it feels when we’re finished. People who’ve had brain injuries and lost their memories, forgotten their names even, will still get up and brush their teeth in the mornings because it’s an ingrained habit associated with how it feels.

How does this apply to your new habit?

Rather than thinking about the struggle to find the time or the five hundred things you could be doing instead, if you think about how you’ll feel once you’ve finished, you’ll feel more positive about it. For example, exercise: if you think about how much of a nuisance it is to go to the gym and get changed, how self conscious you’ll feel in a class where you don’t know anyone, how much time it will take up getting showered and changed afterwards, you’ll easily come up with a cast iron excuse not to do it. If you think about how great you’ll feel when you’ve just completed your workout, you’ll want to do it every single time.

Create a ritual

Rituals are a great way of forming new habits. In fact, much of our every-day life is made up of rituals we probably don’t even consciously notice. They are a way of orienting our subconscious minds as to where we are and what we should do next. For example, if you always take a shower in the morning, on the rare occasion you shower later in the day it can throw you a little off balance as you’re just not used to having a shower at that time of day.

For many of us our morning ritual involves making a cup of tea or coffee; if we don’t do that it’s not just the lack of caffeine that can set our day off to a wobbly start. When we’re trying to form a new habit, rituals are a great way of getting them ingrained in our daily lives, so that if we skip them for some reason, things just don’t feel right.

We talked about aromatherapy in #2 above, and it’s a great way of forming a new ritual as a particular scent can trigger that response in us so that we expect a certain action or experience next. For example, if your new habit is daily meditation, a ritual might be to light a candle or apply our Focus balm and take a deep breath before sitting on a special cushion, in the same place each day. You might even have a special shawl to wrap around your shoulders. All of these things can become a part of your daily ritual so that whenever you smell Focus balm or see your cushion, you’re reminded to meditate.

Post on social media

Social media can be the cause of much distraction and time wasting, if we allow it - but it can also be great for holding ourselves accountable and sharing our goals and achievements. By making a public statement, “this is what I resolve to do” we become accountable to everyone who follows us; they can all see what we have said we will do. It’s also a great way to garner support if you’re feeling a bit shaky.

So many people resolve to give up smoking at new year, and publicly counting how many days they’ve been smoke free on social media is a great way to ensure they maintain that momentum. Your followers might become a little bored if all you’re posting every day is the number of days you’ve kept up your new habit, but every now and then it can be very motivating and rewarding to post an update. If you’re struggling with your resolution you can ask friends for help and support too. If you share your progress using “#MyScentered2017” we will be there to cheer you on to. Social media gives us access to people all over the world, in all walks of life. You are bound to find someone who has made the same resolution as you, however uncommon you think yours is. Make the most of this powerful resource and use it to your advantage - just don’t get sucked into scrolling through your timeline!

Now that the holiday season is over and we’ve all gone back to the stresses and strains of daily life it can be really hard to stick with the resolutions we made on January 1st. With a bit of determination and focus though, we can all achieve what we set out to do.