As we swap layers of warmth in favour of lighter, skin barring attire we are confronted with the prospect of what the past six months of personal habits have looked like. Whether it is a grim reminder of our lacklustre wellbeing habits we sustained during COVID lockdown or a celebration of our efforts during the winter months – one thing is for sure, it is something we cannot escape.
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “We are a product of our thoughts and habits?” this rings true and sets the tone for anything we try to achieve in life.
Habits are not something that happens overnight. Good or bad – they develop over a matter of time through small chips to our armour that turn to rust if they have a negative influence or layers of polish that form a robust shine if, they are positive. Every change in our actions has a trigger or catalyst that must begin from a thought. Cornerstone habits are habits we develop that interact with other behaviours in our life. These habits are building blocks we can use to create a lasting, positive change.
Understanding where our triggers or habits develop can be an integral key to overcoming them and, more importantly, what we can learn from them. Foundational habits are the key to seeing our return to veering off course, which we all do (heck we are all human!). But these need to be put into motion, consistently and consequently with foreseeable results before we can reap the benefits.
Getting to bed at a reasonable hour, ensuring you have a loose meal plan for the week ahead, buying said groceries to make meals, engaging in some form of enjoyable movement, consistently giving time to yourself to plan goals, stocktake thoughts or redirect goals are all examples of what may constitute your foundational habits. Alongside these, needs to be an understanding of what triggers send you down the rabbit hole of stress and/or self-sabotage behaviours so you can catch yourself before the hole is too deep.
Anchors that keep you grounded or can be thrown for the purpose of stability can be used at times of reset. Returning from holidays, time away from your usual routine caused by things such as lockdown, or a slip into old unhelpful patterns are common disturbances.
Here are some ideas you can explore in aid of building your own cornerstone habit foundations
- Cook and eat healthy meals at home the majority of the week
In particular, what meals am I going to make, what ingredients do I need to buy? What do I need to do on certain days to be prepared or find inspirational recipes? Make things easy and simple to reduce resistance.
- Making exercise a non-negotiable
What time of the day can you create space for exercise? Do you need some form of accountability through a group class or meeting a friend? What obstacles have stood in your way in the past and how can you overcome these to make showing up for yourself a lot simpler? Understand that movement is not only great for the physical body but also for mental fitness and self-connection.
- What books or podcasts can I read or listen to that help me to stay in touch with my goals at present?
- What mindful practises can I engage in to help bring me back to me and stay on top of building stress and anxiety?
This could look like breathing exercises, meditation or yoga. Even hanging out the washing is done in a mindful way can be a form of meditation!
- Reconnect with friends and family.
Having someone to talk to that understands you at times of overwhelm or distress that offers support, guidance and advice are important. Even if they just listen, it helps you to move your thoughts around and see perspective on issues that you feel troubled by.
Foundational habits bring a return of balance to the body, so you feel you are on the right page of where you need to be. They bring a sense of safety and righteousness so we can continue on our path to healthier habits.