A great alternative to the radical January reboot, deciding to crowd out bad habits is a commitment to change, without the intense pressure that often sets us up to fail. And let’s face it, the typical all or nothing approach to a healthier lifestyle that is often associated with the start of a New Year is not for everyone.
Crowding out literally means to force something out of your life by filling its space with something else, and it can be applied to all aspects of your life. Whatever you want to change, you don’t have to do it all at once. Simply give more space to good habits and bad habits will naturally feature less in your life. Here are three examples of how to do it in your life:
1. Eating Better
Let’s start with food. It's a huge topic - we know. And it's Janaury. And diet culture... we know. So, instead of trying to eat less of one type of food, which can be really difficult, we're suggesting that you switch your focus to eating more of the healthier options. If this sounds too simple, it's because it is. You don’t have to make a drastic switch from fast food to green smoothies in one day. Just crowd out the more processed foods by eating more vegetables with your dinner, for example. We’re not saying you have to give anything up. In fact, doesn't that usually make you want something more? However, if you fill your plate with greens, you’ll have less of an appetite for other things later.
2. Moving More
The more time you spend moving around, the less time there is in your day for inactivity. Whether it’s walking to work or a fitting in an exercise class, the more of that you do, the less time you have to spend on the sofa. Whilst you're at it let's do that with thought patterns too - congratulate youself every time you get moving. Positive thought will crowd out the negative. By working out to feel good rather than working out to feel thin (which isn't a feeling anyway), you'll hit your target with every session.
3. Breaking Out
We all have relationships in our lives that we know are not good for us. It can be friendships, family relationships or work colleagues who just drain all of our positive energy. Well, the same principle applies here. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, there’s no need for a dramatic announcement or parting of the ways. Simply make plans that surround you with people who have a positive impact on your life and there will naturally be less time for what may be a toxic conversation or a meaningless night out.
Give it a go! When it comes to lifestyle changes, it really is easier to add in new, healthier options that it is to try and quit other ones - just crowd them out.