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How to Protect Healthy Habits After a Time Change

"Fall back" is how I remember this seasonal time change to set my clocks back. And if I'm not mindful of healthy habits and routines, it's easy to fall back into unhealthy patterns. That's because, in addition to the days getting shorter and shorter. The brain reacts to the lack of sunlight and works to adjust its natural clock too. 

The brain wants to hibernate, urging me to stay in bed longer or get inside and stay inside earlier in the evening. It's the internal clock we all have that likes to set routines and patterns around the sun and adjust to the season.

I don't resist the change in seasons and daylight savings time. But I do need to work to make the mental adjustment. Otherwise, my lazy brain wanting to hibernate and retreat will unwind most of my healthy habits. These three self-talk tips keep me on track so my healthy habits stay intact even when the time changes.

#1 Compare the time to your summer-time routine. I took my dog, Bruno, out for an evening walk at 6:30 pm. It was almost dark, and my brain said, "Skip it today; it's too late." And I pushed back with the reasoning, "It's still early. In the summer, we were walking as late as 8:00 pm! It is fine; he needs the exercise. It's still okay!" That quick comparison keeps me from quitting or giving up.

Take notice of the new time the sun will set and rise and set the alarm to start the walk earlier; less daylight requires a tighter schedule if you want to work outside. Sometimes when the clock changes, you do need to adjust time-sensitive activities. Find the time and make room for it. 

#2 Look at the clock, not the amount of daylight. Last night, I didn't get to the gym until after 5:00 pm. My brain kept noticing the diminishing sunlight and was urging me to "Cut it short! That's enough. Get home; it's too late!" And that's where my brain's responsible, adult, or executive part stepped in to push back. "It's not too late. Most summer nights, I don't eat dinner before 7:30 pm, and I'll be done and home in plenty of time!"

Ignore the lazy brain. It's a normal reaction to darkness. It will reliably want to retreat to the house to hibernate and get cozy! 

#3 Imagine your "future self". Snoozing will always feel good at the moment, but ultimately, exercise will feel better for the entire day! Saturday, at 7 am, I planned to run outside. And when my alarm went off, I looked out, it was still dark, so I said, "It's still dark outside, and it's the weekend; just skip it." But then I remembered this is the only time today when I'll be able to be active. I imagined my "future self" and how I wanted to enjoy my exceptional exceptions over the weekend and still feel healthy and good, and that thought quickly got me out of bed to exercise.

Motivation typically installs itself after you take action, so you need to imagine the confidence and good feelings you'll have after you take the healthy activity, that's your future self! The pride I knew I'd feel after moving motivated me. I knew that would set me in a positive direction for the remainder of the day!


How Do You Adjust?

What do you do to keep moving? I'd love to hear! Let's support each other to move and stay motivated! Let's continue the conversation in the Interactive Member's Support Group, Advice & Help Section. 

Learn More 

Listen to Episode 23 of my Podcast "Maintaining Motivation" for more tips and even if you've already listened, it's a great refresher! Episode 20 Start Your Day Off Right is another boost! Also, check out Episode 13 Healthy Habits and Routines, Let's Go!

$5 Subscribers and Members watch Healthy Habits & Routines in the Real Life Strategy Video Library.

Members watch the two Self-Care videos to get "comfort" ideas besides food.  

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