Self Improvement Thursday: Thinking your way to new habits.

healthy lifestyle changes psychology blog

Hola and happy Self Improvement Thursday!

Are you trying to get fit, lose weight, get better sleep, train for an event, improve your diet, give up smoking or drinking, or both? Are you trying to be a kinder person, show more gratitude, be happier, more spiritual or just stop eating chocolate biscuits?  

I'm currently trying (ok, thinking about trying) to go to bed earlier and I'm failing dismally. Changing habits - even simple ones like your bedtime - is DIFFICULT. Sometimes it's nigh on IMPOSSIBLE. Even when you know all of the theory and tips and tricks like I do, it still takes practice and a whole lot of consciousness.  

Quick example: My 'plans' about going to bed earlier have really just been thoughts. I haven't actually done anything to put that plan into action.  It's kind of an idea of something that I think I should do.  That's a long way away from consciously making better lifestyle choices and changing habits.  

On the upside, thinking about it is considered to be an important part of what psychologists call The Change Cycle (it's also known as the Transtheoretical Model of Change but that's a bit wordy isn't it?)  It shows that I'm in the Contemplation phase which is a step ahead of being in the Pre-contemplation phase which is when I'm still blindly staggering on in a somewhat sleep deprived but thoughtless state.  Ignorance is bliss, or so they say.  Although in this case ignorance may be suffering.

The challenge in the Contemplation Phase is that I'm tending to have the aforementioned vague thoughts about changing my behaviour but not doing anything about it other than getting cranky with myself for still feeling addled and sleepy today because it was 11.30pm by the time I went to bed last night - AGAIN!

It's time to start putting some plans into action!

Now that's a cute way of showing it!

I'm going to go away and work on my own plans in the Preparation stage (or Planning as they call it in the cute graphic above) but I challenge you to think about where you might be at with your healthy lifestyle changes?  Are you still blissfully unaware? (Hard to answer that if you are.) Are you thinking? Planning? Doing?  Slipping? 

And as it is National Psychology Week I'm also going to leave you with this great tip sheet on making healthy lifestyle changes.  It explains why it's hard but also gives you tips on how to make it happen.

I'll check back in soon with my update on my improved bed time and I'm keen to see how you're going too. Til then....