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According to research published in the British Journal of General Practice, to create a healthy habit a person must consistently repeat an action under the same circumstances.
But if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s normal to slip back into old unhealthy habits over time. Learning to pause and reflect on how you’re doing may help you spot when and why you return to old ways.
By doing so, you can begin to catch yourself just before you perform the habit you’re trying to change. Reflecting can give you the information you need to create a plan that prevents certain situations from triggering an old unhealthy habit.
Read on to discover how to use reflection to help you achieve a health goal.
The University of Edinburgh has a reflection toolkit that’s designed to help students control their progress in their studies, careers and personal lives.
The same strategies may be useful to anyone interested in taking control of their health by creating healthy habits.
According to the toolkit, an effective reflective practice should involve 3 things.
For the best results, aim to reflect regularly. This could be daily or weekly.
Write your answers in a journal so you can review them.
When you’ve written your answers down, use them to create a new plan for the upcoming day or week.
Closely review your answers to establish how to repeat the actions that led to success and how to avoid those that didn’t.
You’ll need to define what you consider to be successful in the context of your health goal. You may choose to focus on:
The final step of your reflection involves 3 things.
Continue this daily or weekly cycle of reflection for as long as it’s useful. As you get better at sticking to your new healthy habit, you can do this less frequently.
If you struggle to review your progress and actions during a reflection session, consider these questions:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.