Towards the end of last year I noticed a few of my self-care habits fall away, from meditation and yoga to reading and having creative fun. As I’ve slowly eased myself into the New Year I’ve made a few very simple intentions.
- meditate regularly
- practice yoga more
- read more
- get back into the habit of shooting for Instagram
- go to bed earlier
Nothing groundbreaking and nothing too specific or number-orientated (I’ve found I do better with generalised intentions/aims rather than hard and fast resolutions) but all things that I know help with anxiety and make me feel fulfilled.
I also know than in order to make these habits stick, I need an action plan.
I can’t just write them out somewhere and hope for the best. So I thought it might be helpful to document here the things that help me stick to new habits I’m trying to cultivate.
Link new habits to a specific time/action in your routine
This is one of the best ways to not only help make new habits stick, but to ensure they can actually fit into your routine. I’ll link one of my new habits to another part of my routine at a specific time of day.
For example, I’ve found the best time for me to meditate is when I get home from work. So in my mind I’ve linked getting home to my flat after work with meditation. So whenever I walk into my living room and take off my shoes and coat, I know before I do anything else I need to sit for 10 minutes and meditate.
Link new habits together if possible
This is something I’ve managed to do with my intention to go to bed earlier and to read more. I’ve started a new routine where I head to bed earlier than normal to read a chapter of my book. This encourages me to get into bed earlier and I get my reading in.
Definitely recommend giving this a go if you can, for example if you want to wake up earlier and also start journaling – why not set your alarm earlier and use that time to journal?
I personally find it helpful to have some sort of note of the things I want to achieve every day (including self-care practices) and sometimes an alert or reminder can work wonders.
I use the Any.do app to remind me what I intend to do for the day and then with things like going to bed earlier I have a little alarm that goes off at 10:00 PM to gently remind me that I should be getting into bed now with my book.
Mark them in your calendar
Similarly to setting alerts and reminders, I’m a big advocate of scheduling intentions in your calendar where appropriate. For example I try to always pop yoga in my calendar, and it honestly makes me so much more likely to do it than if I didn’t.
This also offers you the opportunity to check your calendar and see what you have time for. Remember our energy levels and workloads are changeable so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to carry out your intentions religiously. Which leads me nicely on to…
Be flexible (and kind)
Remember that you are human, not a machine. You can have all the best intentions but sometimes life, emotions, workload, stress levels etc. show up and throw you off track. This is fine. If your intentions are coming from a place of self-love, you should treat them as flexible and treat yourself kindly.
Try not to berate yourself if you miss a yoga session or stay up until 1am binge watching Tidying-Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. These things will happen and they don’t make you a bad person. They make you human.
So there we have it. If you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things you want to start working into your routine this year, I hope these tips can help. My advice is always to keep it simple, make sure it feels good and think practically about how it’ll fit into your routine.
The only reason I’m able to increase how much yoga I do is because I’ve cut down to one blog a week here, freeing up another evening. There’s only so much we can do within 24 hours, it’s all about what you’re able to prioritise.
If you’re looking for gentle support on these kinds of things, I’d love for you to check out my Facebook group, Worthy Humans Unite. In here I’m sharing tips and encouragements to help you nurture confidence, self-acceptance and any other goals you might have.
Have you made any intentions for the new year or are you continuing with existing habits? Remember, neither is right or wrong, and in fact before setting an intention I always think it’s helpful to ask yourself if you need to make the intention and where the desire is coming from – is it internal or external?
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