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by Dr. David Buttifant

Fear can paralyse.

With uncertainty and change, fear is magnified.

But you have a choice. You can rise to the challenge.  

Know thyself

First, you need to know your coping mechanisms. Can you adjust to the circumstances that brings on stress? What can you adjust? Can you turn adversity into advantage?

You can adjust to change. You may not like it but forming new, healthy habits can drive your performance and wellbeing. The effects are magnified when change is forced upon you.

People are creatures of habit. Craving a sense of security is normal, particularly when our lives are drastically altered.

How to form healthy habits

Adjusting your expectations and forming healthy habits can help you buffer adversity.

But change is not easy.

Think about your day. You wake at the same time, check your phone, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, have a coffee, commute to work… day in, day out, the same routine.

So, if our day is filled with habitual behaviour, why is it so hard to form new, healthy habits?

Because we over-reach. We expect too much. We expect change overnight.

If you want to make healthy choices a habit and create a positive shift in your life, get specific and go easy.

Break a big goal into tiny actions. Make one small change at a time. Build your confidence through success.

Once a habit has been established and becomes effortless, you can start on the next.

Rewarding and celebrating your new, healthy habits can help those habits stick.

What habits help me cope with change?

There are plenty you can practice. I group them into four Wellbeing Pillars. These are:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

Here’s a sample of healthy habits I recommend to build your resilience to change and tough times.

PHYSICAL

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Resistance training
  • High Intensity Interval Training
  • Stretching
  • Sleep
  • Healthy nutrition

EMOTIONAL

  • Mindfulness
  • Visualisation
  • Breathing
  • Positive talk
  • Journaling
  • Reflection

SOCIAL

  • Connectedness
  • Mentoring
  • Hobbies
  • Socialising
  • Fun and humour

SPIRITUAL

  • Gratitude
  • Helping others
  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Empathy

Getting started

Know your WHY. Why do you want to change? 

Is stress affecting your work and home life? Is the fear of change holding you back?

The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said “He who has a why to live for can bare almost any how.”

10 steps to make your habits stick

1. What’s your why?

Know your aspiration
Have a vision

2. Belief

Find a good behaviour to match your why
Know you can perform the behaviour

3. Want it

Be prepared to invest time and energy

4. Repeat

Perform the behaviour daily
After five days, 80 percent of people start to build the habit

5. Keep standards low

Achieve early and build slowly
Perform to your capability
Break the behaviour into small actions

6. Cues and triggers

Use reminders
Have a visual cue to help initiate action
Link the behaviour to an existing habit
Make the habit effortless

7. Time

Allow at least two months to embed the habit
Habits form faster when we do them more often

8. Accountability

Use measures and monitoring techniques
Share your goals
Plan when and where you will take your action and find a time and place that you practice your behaviour

9. Coaching and mentoring

Seek support from trusted sources

10. Reward

Use delayed gratification
Celebrate your success
Feel good about your progress

Consider these new, healthy habits tools in your toolbox. When times get tough, use the right tool for the situation.

Remember, you have the power to change your response to change. It takes practice and commitment, but you can do it.

Know you can.

David Buttifant is a high-performance coach, founder of Resilience Builders and facilitator of Coping With Change webinar training.

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