Making & Breaking Habits

This February, we're all about creating new habits, changing minds and changing lives. We'll be posting a blog from one of the team around this theme every week. Next up is business psychologist and director at Carter Corson, Hannah Johnson, talking about how tuning into what really motivates you will help you say goodbye to the 'shoulds'.

It was around July time last year that I made a decision to start exercising differently. I have always had a love-hate relationship with exercise and that’s because, for the most part, I followed principles and approaches that told me how I should do it. I realised that I was adhering to convention in this one part of my life, yet in others, I completely resisted convention and made efforts to find my own way – to not follow the crowd.

I think this is interesting because we often approach our lifestyle and our work with a lot of ‘shoulds’.
We think that things should be done a certain way, rather than tuning into our own preferences, motivators and values to understand ourselves better - and to use what we find create our own way, one that is a true-fit for us.

This is equally true with habits – whether we are making good ones or breaking the bad. We are influenced by, and often look to, society, family, friends, culture, when shaping our view of the habits we should make or break. We have all been sucked in to the New Year’s Resolution train at some point and we can find ourselves committing to things simply because of a time of year. Just think about that – we are being influenced by a date in the year, rather than by an inner motivation to make a change. If it was a true-fit habit change, why wait until 1st January?

And with all this, we are then disappointed when we get half way through February and haven’t been to the gym five times a week, eaten our five a day, started a new hobby, quit smoking, ran the half marathon, started a savings scheme, or read a book a week.

For those of you who did start the year by making a resolution and you are still going strong, here’s a virtual woohoo because that is amazing. You found something that you wanted to do and you found a way to make it a true-fit, ensuring that it wouldn’t have been forgotten by the second week of January.

For me, when I finally tuned into my motivation and preferences, I realised that my approach to exercise habits were not aligned with what is most important to me. Exercise was not a means to look a certain way, it was a way of taking care of my body. When I looked at it with that lens, I stopped feeling guilty for stopping my workout after 30 minutes because for me, that was enough, regardless of what others thought.

If we can all find a way to better tune into needs, and really challenge ourselves when we hear ‘I should’, then we can begin to explore instead the things ‘I like’, the things ‘I enjoy’, and the things ‘I love to do’. If you can begin your next resolution with one of those, then you have a real chance at long term change.

And PS - You don’t need to wait until January 1st

If you're interested to learn more, get in touch with Hannah via email office@cartercorson.co.uk or give her a call 01625 526979

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