Developing healthy habits and a positive mindset in 2021

After just one week of the New Year, we ran a little poll over on our LinkedIn page, to see how people were getting on with their New Year’s resolutions. By the end of the second week of 2021, we’d established that around a third of respondents were either already off-track, or hadn’t started.

Not that New Year’s resolutions are everything, mind. But while nobody who responded to our poll believed that New Year’s resolutions simply “don’t work“, or “aren’t worth it”, the results did highlight how quickly plans, and goals, can change.

(If you’ve ever noticed the difference between the number of people in a gym in January, and early March, you’ll know exactly what we mean).

But if you applied these results to the regular working week, and were off-track, or didn’t even start one third of your daily goals – by Friday you’d have lost more than a day and a half of productivity.

Developing the ideal habits

By definition, any habit is “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Essentially then, a habit can be both positive, or negative, and last for some time. And during a year already disrupted by lockdown restrictions, which are set to last for some time, there is an extra, and rather substantial roadblock in the way of beginning, and maintaining any new habit.

And while a big part of this roadblock could be, of course, not being able to go outside as often, or keep up other healthy habits you’d usually have in place, motivation is certainly another factor to take into account. After all, it can be tough to stay motivated when it feels as though the world is constantly moving against you.

But this is where action-oriented approaches, such as the Health Access Process Approach (HAPA), can be useful in successfully forming new habits. HAPA encourages not only focusing on a specific goal or target, but also on what needs to be achieved to get there, what may stop you doing so – and how your own level of motivation could impact your success.

Applying the process

Applying this to a typical New Year’s Resolution then (‘Getting Fit’), you would plan:

1) Your goal (i.e., a specific weight, BMI, distance run, etc), and

2) What you will do to achieve it (i.e., reducing calories, cutting out certain foods, visiting the gym X times per week, etc).

However, you would also then acknowledge:

3) How good you generally are at eating healthily or exercising regularly… and, crucially…

4) What action to take when you feel demotivated.

After all, in this scenario you may find yourself hungrier, a little more tired, or even disappointed when you don’t think things are going well.

(Yes, it’s a little bit like doing a risk assessment on your own ability to form a new habit!)

Bear in mind though, this additional layer of planning is by no means telling yourself “I will do it”, whenever you don’t want to.

It’s more about acknowledging where you are most likely to encounter a problem with yourself.

(If you’ve ever been asked to talk about your weaknesses in a job interview, you’ll know how hard it can be to discuss your own, often natural inadequacies!)

Putting it into practice

So, by not only being aware of how near (or frustratingly far!) you are from reaching a personal goal – but also how close you are to losing the motivation to keep going – you’re always much closer to recognising a potential pitfall. And the great thing is you can apply this to many everyday situations and areas of personal development.

Naturally, many of the people who call us at Tribe are looking to find new work or change their career, which we all know can be a massive challenge!

But the HAPA method is ideal again, here, for keeping yourself motivated, when things aren’t going to plan. Not performing quite as well as you’d hoped in an interview, spotting a glaring typo in your CV after hitting ‘send’, or hearing the words ‘…on this occasion, the level of applicants was very highso unfortunately…’ are all things that you might not want to plan for – but perhaps should.

(Having a dedicated recruiter on hand to help get your foot in the door could also be a worthwhile healthy habit to get into, as well… 😉 )

Making healthy habits a habit

So, by effectively having a plan for when things aren’t going to plan, you’ll always have something in place to keep you going, when it feels like the whole world is against you. And let’s face it, as we’ve already mentioned, for the last 10 months or so it’s been easy to feel exactly that way.

Admittedly, there’s perhaps not a backup plan that can help you stay entirely positive during a global pandemic, and everything that comes with it – but that’s just another reason to develop healthy habits and mindsets in the meantime.

After all, lockdown will eventually end, everyday life will return to something like normal – but there will still be plenty of ups, downs and unexpected turns to deal with.

With healthy habits in place for handling such occurrences though, we all have the ability to remain positive when they happen. And if there’s anything our recruitment company in Darlington can do to assist you in getting there, pop us a message and we’ll soon be in touch to help.

Since 2009, we’ve been making a healthy, positive habit of doing just that.