There are silver linings in most situations, and some are appearing in the post-COVID period. Many are facing ongoing hardship from the lockdown. Finances could be tight, and you may have lost income. Your entire routine might have been turned upside-down as you worked from home or tried to homeschool your children.
Despite all this, some of us have also developed some positive new habits. We had more time, so we discovered a new hobby like baking or gardening. Maybe you walked more, or maybe you finally took your bike out of the garage.
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As you return to the office, you can use that same energy to develop new habits and routines. You might have felt stuck in a rut, so think of this return as a chance to hit a reset button and start fresh. Whatever new habit you want to develop, this guide will help.
Decide on a New Habit or Routine
The first thing to do is to decide what habit or routine you want to change. It’s easy to fall into familiar patterns, so setting a goal and writing it down helps us visualize making that shift.
Suppose you want to take a thirty minute exercise break in the middle of the day. You could go for a walk, head outside to do some yoga, or visit a nearby pool for a swim. As we transition to fall and winter weather, you can shift this habit to open indoor recreational facilities.
Writing down this goal will remind you of your desired change, which will help you work toward it.
A thirty minute walk may not sound like much, but if you habitually sit at your desk for hours and move very little, it can be difficult to even get five minutes in.
Make a commitment to take a break. Rethink old thought patterns. Try to escape the trap of “one more thing” or “I’ll just finish up this quick task, then go.”
This is why it helps to start small. A five or ten minute walk might feel more achievable at first. The same is true of a five minute meditation session. Over time, you can expand your sessions to the larger overall goal. Starting small makes it more likely that you’ll stick to the new habit.
Overcome Old Thought Patterns
Starting small can help us push back against old patterns, which are often why we fall back into routine. The person who sits at their desk all day may have fallen into the “one more thing” trap. They think each task is easy and quick to complete, and each time they finish one, they pick up another small task to check off the list.
Instead of allowing this kind of thinking, this person should set an alarm or a timer. At noon, they’ll take their break, even if there is just a quick email they could send or another tiny task they could finish in a couple of minutes. If they set a timer, they might take a five-minute break every hour or so.
This works with other new habits too. If you want to eat healthier, try packing a lunch the night before. If you want to get out the door on time, set your alarm earlier and adjust your bedtime. Set a timer and get to bed instead of saying, “Just one more episode” for your favourite Netflix series.
Finally, remember that it takes around twenty one days to form a new habit. If you can do something consistently for twenty one days, it’s more likely to stick. That doesn’t mean you’ll never fall back into the same old patterns, so watch out for “bad habits” creeping back in.
Use these tips and you’ll be in a much better position to keep up with your new habits and routines, which can help you be happier and more productive at the office.