Resolving to Design New Habits for 2024 - Wildflower Fire Coaching
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The new year often brings talk of resolutions – losing weight, saving money, reducing stress. However, according to recent statistics, upwards of 80% of resolutions fail by February. This is especially true for midlife women who are often also navigating major life transitions such as children leaving home, career changes, health challenges, relationship shifts, and caring for ageing parents. Menopause just adding to the general merriment.

Making grand New Year’s resolutions sets unrealistic expectations. Rather than making resolutions that quickly fall by the wayside and can make us feel like failures, let’s think about what habits and rituals we can easily and thoughtfully design to support us at this stage of life. 

Habits are small, consistent actions we take on a daily or weekly basis. When we repeat these actions enough times, they become automatic routines wired into our brains. This makes them more sustainable in the long run. more than ambitious resolutions which require extremely high levels of self-control and motivation. As midlife women our focus should be on consciously creating habits in four key areas: self-care, relationships, purpose, and health.

Self-Care Habits

For self-care, habits like journaling, meditating, enjoying quiet time in nature, taking relaxing baths, or losing oneself in an engaging book for pleasure all help calm the mind and nourish the spirit which gets depleted from constant doing. Set aside 20-30 minutes a day for an activity that centres you, enables you to find flow and reminds you of your inherent value beyond the busy busy.

Relationship Habits

Strong social ties are key to health and happiness. For relationships, reach out to an old friend or supportive relative once a week via Whatsapp, over the phone or in person. Set up monthly dinner dates or weekend getaways with your partner or close friends. Get in the routine of checking in, listening deeply and investing time in those connections that matter most rather than letting the busyness and noise of life continually get in the way. 

Purposeful Habits 

Engaging in service, volunteering, mentoring and activism provides a sense of contribution and meaning which research has shown boosts both mental and physical health. Identify causes aligned with your values like education, environmental, conservation etc. and then set a habit of devoting 2-4 hours each month contributing to something bigger than ourselves.

Health & Wellbeing Habits

From increased risk of chronic illnesses to weight gain, hormone fluctuations and loss of stamina, midlife poses all sorts of health challenges. That’s why regular movement, nourishing whole foods, restful sleep and stress relief are especially important. Start with small steps like walking for 30 minutes daily, lifting weights twice a week, meal-prepping a few nutritious recipes each Sunday, trying new fitness classes with friends, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. These habits start adding up to increased energy, strength, mood and sense of well-being.

Personal Growth Habits

Rather than stagnating or feeling on a plateau, midlife is meant to be a period of expansion, learning and continued development. Take inspiration from the fact that many influential writers, artists and innovators did their best work in midlife and beyond. Develop habits of lifelong learning such as taking online classes on topics that intrigue you, attending personal growth workshops, reading or listening to one book per month, listening to educational podcasts while commuting or trying your hand at creative pursuits like painting, photography or writing. Keep cultivating new talents and knowledge – this is key for personal fulfilment.

The Power of Habit Stacking

Rather than tackling multiple resolutions that quickly become overwhelming, its more helpful to thoughtfully choose one or two habits to build at a time utilising “habit stacking”. This refers to anchoring new behaviours to existing routines, thereby increasing the likelihood they stick. For example, build the habit of journaling every morning with your coffee or take a walk every evening after dinner with your family. Habit stacking works with cues already built into your schedule while layering on an additional action. Slowly build up these tiny changes over a few months until they become automatic.

Other Keys for Habit Success Include:

Scheduling the habit into your calendar so it becomes a firm commitment not just an aspiration. Using tracking apps or stickers on a calendar help reinforce progress. Finding an “accountability buddy” to check in regarding habit consistency provides motivation. And lastly, treating yourself with small rewards celebrates victories along the often challenging journey of lasting change. 

What Can You Do with Intention

The new year offers a chance to redirect from mindless busy busy onto intentional living aligned with who you want to become. Rather than tackling numerous resolutions, can you mindfully craft one or two new tiny habits instead?

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