It’s also vital to identify your motivation for making the change and frame it positively. The human brain hates to feel deprived so your natural instinct may be to rebel against a resolution to ‘cut out eating biscuits at work’. But by re-framing your change as a positive choice, such as, ‘I get more pleasure if I save my sweet tooth for a treat I really enjoy’, or ‘I get much more enjoyment from my meals when I have a good appetite,’ you get a constant reminder of the benefits.
Focus on the benefit that a change delivers today. So if you want to lose weight and you make a decision to simply ‘stop eating after 8pm every day’, you won’t get slim on day one, but chances are you will notice immediate benefits to your digestion and sleep quality, as well as a boost in your feelings of self-control.
For some people, the best motivation is tapping into their competitive streak, and many health apps are wising up to the benefits of ‘gamification’ – mixing self-monitoring and entertainment. Ayogo.com assigns you daily activities, games and surveys to complete, designed to help you manage health conditions such as diabetes. If you prefer more tangible rewards, sign up to an app that allows you to earn discounts on healthy lifestyle brands every time you tick off a goal, like Mango Health or Pact.
Scientists have found that only 10 per cent of our happiness comes from our life circumstances, whereas a whopping 40 per cent comes from our daily habits.
As Aristotle put it so succinctly: ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ So ask yourself, are your daily habits working for you, or against you?