When I first begin working with someone that is trying to make a change, I make suggestions that, to the outsider, seem small. Whether the individual wants to increase the amount of physical activity he’s getting, pay more attention to his breathing, or simply be more aware throughout the day, I find the smallest changes often make the biggest difference. Below are five suggestions I regularly give for clients trying to increase awareness and movement.
- In the morning, before you get out of bed, check in with your breathing. Lie on your back, with your legs either long or your knees bent and inhale for a count of four through your nose, exhale out your mouth for either a count of six or eight. After four breaths, roll over on to your side and get up. (If you remember, do this before bed as well).
- Walk on your lunch break. Even if it’s just for five minutes, walking on your lunch break will give you a little more energy for the afternoon. If possible, walk outside.
- Set your food (or fork) down between bites. Don’t pick your fork back up until you have finished swallowing.
- Set a timer to go off once an hour; when the timer goes off, either shift positions or get up. Take a couple of breaths at the same time.
- Once a day, lean against a wall, so your hips and mid-back are against the wall, the feet are away from the wall, and slide your hips down the wall. Keep the feet flat with most of the weight in the heels. Feel the pelvis against the wall and the ribs against the wall as you breathe in this position for four breaths. Press strongly through your feet to stand up.
Changing habits is hard. However, building a little bit of awareness into the day can lead to long term change.
*Though not necessarily about habit change, I found this article about increasing physical activity in rural Kentucky inspiring: https://www.outsideonline.com/2195101/one-mans-fight-change-fate-rural-appalachia