Last year the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM) @britsoclm launched their #1change campaign.
This drive was created with the recognition that a large proportion of illnesses we see today are lifestyle related and that we must support each other in change. #1change aims to help raise awareness that all of us can make a difference to our health through making conscious lifestyle choices, one small step at a time.
#1change is all about us nudging and coaxing changes in our behaviour, using safe and tested lifestyle interventions, for the longer term and for our good health.
We often set ourselves unachievable goals and expectations, we then more often than not fail at these, feel bad and go back to our old habits feeling disappointed with ourselves. Establishing new behaviours can be more successful if they are:
- Simple and clearly described
- Set one at a time
- Have an effective trigger
- Celebrated once achieved, which helps build self-efficacy
You can also use the SMART goals – which I wrote about in my blog.
The campaign aims to empower the public with the thought that our health is in our own hands, and that it is possible to improve it with individualised lifestyle interventions which all begin with #1change.
Earlier this year I read ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg (I will do a book review for you shortly!). In this Duhigg creates a framework for changing habits:
- Identify the routine – this can act as a trigger for a behaviour
- Experiment with rewards – these are powerful aspects of habit as satisfy our cravings. You need to figure out what cravings are driving your habits e.g. do you get that mid-afternoon snack because you’re hungry, or do you get it for a break from work when a quick walk outside would also satisfy your craving.
- Isolate the cue – what causes you to trigger a habit
- Have a plan – plan for the cue and choose a new (healthier) behaviour that provides the reward you’re craving
Using myself as an example, I chose 10 mins of yoga in the morning instead of waking up and looking at my phone, and the corresponding onslaught of microstresses (this is discussed really clearly by Dr Rangan Chatterjee in his book The Stress Solution).
Now I start every day with a yoga flow, it’s become a habit and I feel strange when I don’t do it. It makes me feel calm yet energised, I can pause before grabbing that cup of coffee!
This #1change has not only changed those 10 minutes of the day, but my whole outlook on it.
As it has become ingrained as a habit, I thought I could take the next step, and choose a new #1change.
I’ve been trying mindfulness meditation for some time. I got into it using the @calm app. I felt I progressed beyond guided meditation yet at the same lacked drive to create a moment in the day to sit on my yoga mat and meditate.
My boyfriend bought off ebay a Muse headband. Quite honestly this has revolutionised my meditation practice.
It is an app with corresponding headband which reads your brainwaves to provide you with instant feedback as to how calm, or active, you were during your practice. This allows you to monitor your progress which I find really incentivising.
When I get a bad day, it reminds me to be non-judgemental and pleased I am continuing my practice.
You can increase the length of your practice as you like. This was great for me as 5 minutes was an approachable starting point I’m slowly working up from.
You can choose different landscapes, from a rainforest to a beach. I use the beach and whilst I am meditating, I hear gentle lapping waves when calm, and stormier seas when my mind wonders. This acts as a trigger to bring me back to my breath. When I am focusing on my breathing, I hear birds tweeting.
There is a new feature of Muse which is guided meditations, if this suits you.
This picture demonstrates how much of a microstress your phone can be. I learnt my lesson here to ensure my phone was on do not disturb when I am using muse! The spike is a notification, see how I don’t get back into a fully calm state?
So my new #1change? I’m aiming to do 8 minutes of meditation with @choosemuse 4 times a week. This is a starting point I feel I can achieve and work up from.
What would be your #1change. I’d love to hear . If you’d like, you can pledge your #1change.
p.s. all handles mentioned are for Instagram in case you want to look these organisations/people up.