Time embraces change, so why can’t we? Dr Helen Lawal’s top tips on how to leave bad habits behind with the dark nights and wintery weather.

Sunday marks the day that the clocks change, moving forward an hour to give an extra hour of light on an evening as the season changes. If we can embrace change in this way, perhaps this Sunday can also mark the day that we champion change in our own lives, to better utilise our time and live a healthier, more productive lifestyle.

As humans, we are creatures of habit that are most comfortable following daily routines with engrained behaviours, no matter how big or small, that may not necessarily be beneficial to our physical or mental health.

Some habits can be positive and encourage behaviour each day that profits our health, such as brushing our teeth or walking the dog. However other habits and routines are less helpful and can create problems for both our health and lifestyle. This can be a problem particularly in winter, as we can become stuck in a rut with habits that are no longer serving us.

Now the season has changed, and the clocks have gone forward, how can we kick such bad habits, leaving them behind to make positive changes in our own lives? Dr Helen Lawal has shared her step-by-step guide on how this can – and has been – achieved, by Dr Helen herself!

  • Identify your habits

Take a piece of paper and make a list of all the different routines and habits that make up a normal day; start in the morning and work your way through the day, aiming for a list of 8-10 habits.

  • Are they beneficial to your health?

Put a star next to the habits you consider beneficial to your health and wellbeing. What is it about these habits that makes them positive? Do you even think about them or are you in autopilot whilst they are happening?

Next, circle the habits that you would consider “bad habits” or routines that you don’t necessarily want but find yourself doing. Some examples are smoking, adding sugar to your tea or watching hours of TV each evening.

By doing this, we are bringing awareness to the areas of our lives that may benefit from reconsideration, in order to begin making positive changes to improve both health and lifestyle.

  • Begin the process of change

Start by picking one of the circled “bad habits” or routines from the list. What are the specific changes you want to make to? What’s holding you back? What can you do to overcome this obstacle? 

For example, Dr Helen has tackled a bad habit of her own and has shared the process she followed as a guide to help understand the steps of embracing change:

Bad habit: waking up in the morning and scrolling through my phone, checking emails and social media before getting out of bed.

Change I want to make: wake up in the morning and meditate for 10 minutes before having my shower (notice how this is positive and doesn’t even reference the phone or emails).

What resources or support do I need to make this change? A meditation app to guide me through 10-minute meditations.

What’s holding you back? I use my alarm on my phone to wake up in the morning and find myself looking at my phone as I snooze my alarm.

What can you do to overcome this obstacle? Use an alarm clock and keep my phone in a different room overnight.

  • Reward yourself

Lastly, think about how you will reward yourself and track your progress.

Some people find it beneficial to keep a record of the changes they are making and the benefits they see as a result, therefore keeping a notebook to keep track of these changes can be helpful.

For example, from Dr Helen’s previous example, here is the recorded benefit:

Meditating each morning has helped reduce “brain fog” in the mornings, resulting in feeling calmer and more positive before starting a busy day.

Dr Helen Lawal is our Health and Lifestyle Coach here at One Wellness, supporting clients to embrace change in lifestyles in a sustainable way, including healthy eating and sleeping habits, increasing physical activity and reducing stress.

Health Coaches are often referred to as ‘Masters of Habit Change’, so if you’re ready to make some positive changes to your lifestyle and would like support and guidance in doing so, Dr Helen Lawal can help. To book an appointment or enquire about Dr Helen’s services, please get in touch by emailing or call 01423 568212.