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How to change your habits

How to Change Your Habits

As we approach the end of our second month of social distancing, the urge to get out and start engaging in life again is strong for most of us. However, the return to anything resembling normal activity will likely be gradual and will take place over a matter of months. For many people, routines that include regular exercise at a gym, yoga studio, or YMCA have been disrupted during the Covid 19 pandemic. This has led in some cases to a decline in physical and mental health, which of course compounds all of the other life disruptions. The good news is that you can be physically active while practicing social distancing.  What it takes is a change in habit. Using this time to start new, healthy habits is one vehicle to positive adaptation. 

One proven method of achieving change in your life is called WOOP. WOOP is an acronym for the simple steps that comprise this method:

  • Wish
  • Outcomes
  • Obstacles
  • Plan

The process starts with thinking about something that you want to achieve (your wish). You then can envision the desirable, positive outcome. Importantly, the next step is to identify potential obstacles to achieving your goal. Then you need to devise a plan for how to proceed, and what you will do if you encounter those obstacles. 

For example, you may want to start a regular walking or running regime. You can visualize yourself with improved muscle tone, and even feel yourself with more energy throughout the day. But you know that if you do not exercise first thing in the morning, it will get harder and harder to motivate yourself as the day goes on. So you plan on getting up a few minutes earlier, drinking coffee, then going outside before you have time to think about it. You can even lay your clothes out the night before to make it that much easier. It is really that simple. 

The WOOP method has undergone research and has been found to be effective for attaining goals in a variety of areas of life. 

If you would like to learn more about WOOP, visit the website: https://woopmylife.org/en/home

Marcia Spoto PT, DC, OCS

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