Lockdown habits to kick and keep

AS Victorians begin to dust off the lockdown cobwebs, now is the time to replace bad habits with good ones, say Monash University behaviour experts., Just as lockdown disrupted our routines and behaviour, the easing of restrictions brings a fresh opportunity to change our habits., That might mean shedding the bad ones – like snacking and that 5pm wine habit – and retaining the good ones, like newfound hobbies and exercise routines., According to Dr Breanna Wright, Research Fellow at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), the change in circumstances may be a disruption to our routines that we can leverage to either change our current behaviours or embed the ones we want to continue., Research shows it takes about 66 days to establish a habit. And while bad habits are easier to adopt than good ones – because they favour short-term enjoyment over long-term outcomes – both have equal staying power once established., “It may seem hard to believe, but good habits are as strong as those pesky bad ones. If you want to keep good habits after lockdown, it’s easier if the time and place remain constant. If that’s not possible, motivation and planning are key,” Dr Wright said., “Schedule a new time to do the behaviour or pair the behaviour with something you already do automatically. This will help it become part of your day. For example, if you want to develop a habit of stretching, then you’re better off stretching immediately after you get out of bed. Over time, stretching will become associated with the behaviour of getting out of bed and become automatic.”, “When it comes to bad habits, removing the opportunity to engage in the behaviour is a good strategy. If iso-snacking is your vice, identify when this usually occurs and try to be out of the house doing another activity during this time., Dr Wright added that bad habits are likely to be more prevalent during lockdown than good habits., “The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty with people unsure how long restrictions would last. This long-term uncertainty may have nudged people to focus more on short-term enjoyment,” Dr Wright said. 

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