The ripple effect
I was doing some reading and research about habits over the weekend and I came across the concept of the ripple effect. The concept is that when you get started on taking one small action it soon builds up and a ripple effect is created amplifying the good work and having a knock on effect to other areas of life.
This seems like an excellent antidote to the self named 'Blue Monday'. Apparently today is the day that we are most likely to break our new year's resolutions. Rather than focus on the negative, I'll skip straight to the positive to motivate you to stick to your new good habits.
Whenever we make tiny changes to our routine a new trigger can have positive changes in other areas too. The key to making changes stick is to tag them on to an existing habit. For example, when you first come down in the morning and boil the kettle for your first drink, what could you tag on to that habit while you wait for the kettle to boil? Could it be doing some stretching exercises, scheduling your social media posts for the day, updating your diary? What would work for you? Think about what other ingrained habits you already have that you could tag a new habit on the back of. Perhaps brushing your teeth, getting changed out of your work clothes when you get home, reading before bed. I am sure there are plenty of others that you could think of.
You could also use this concept to switch habits you'd rather stop doing or reduce. I noticed that every time I picked up my smart phone, my fingers and thumbs seemed to start playing out a familiar routine of checking email and social media. To change that habit, I moved the icons round on my phone and put new ones in their place. So now it takes me to Kindle and my FitBit tracker to remind me to read more and walk more!
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit calls these habits that create ripples of change, 'keystone habits'. For example, if you exercise more you are also more likely to eat more healthily.
If you'd like to know more, the book I found the research in about the ripple effect is 'Feel Better in 5' by Dr Rangan Chatterjee - I highly recommend it if you are looking to be healthier in 2020.
If you'd like to be supported in 2020 for keeping on track with your goals, please do get in touch with me on 01789 430040 or firstname.lastname@example.org