New Habits and Making Changes in the New Year!
Happy New Year! Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L
Whether you are the type to make a New Year’s resolutions or not, most can agree that this time of year inspires us to reflect on areas of our lives that are going the way that we’d like, and areas that could use some improvement. This time of year often inspires us to make changes and start new habits, or perhaps just motivate us to give a better effort at goals previously set that have been on the back burner in our lives.
One of the best ways to get a new habit to stick is to find a way to incorporate it into a task that is already a part of your daily life and routine. For example, if your goal is to go for a walk every day, set your walking shoes by your toothbrush, coffeemaker, or something else that is used daily without fail. Hopefully your shoes won’t be sitting in your kitchen or bathroom for long before it becomes part of the routine and doesn’t need the reminder anymore!
Another strategy is to schedule in your new goal. If you use a planner, calendar, or other organizer, find a time that make sense and add it in! If you use something electronic, like a phone app, alarm reminders can help you incorporate your new habit into a routine.
Some changes can affect the whole family, and for some children, changes in routine can be very difficult to deal with. Explaining what is changing, and why, can be a helpful step in easing the transition. Sometimes a warning goes a long way! If you use a schedule with your child, make sure to explain the new item on the schedule. Visual schedules can be so helpful for children that struggle with transitions or tolerating change, or that process information they see better than information they hear. A visual schedule can be referred to numerous times to ease anxiety and give concrete answers to what the day will look like; auditory information can sometimes be too fast, too slow, too loud or quiet, or just too much at once, and can be difficult to process and remember. If you’re not using a visual schedule and think one might help you, talk to your OT about placing an order for a custom visual schedule through Lowcountry Therapy Center! For big changes that require more explanation, social stories, role playing, and video modeling can all be used to show and explain what to expect.
Good luck with those New Year’s resolutions!