Make Your Resolutions Stick - Become an Expert at Changing Habits

The expression "turn over a new leaf" actually refers to "leaves" as pages in a book.

The expression "turn over a new leaf" actually refers to "leaves" as pages in a book.

It's a new year and new leaves are turning over.  Resolutions are often related to changing habits related to heath, interactions, and appearance,.  I've found that the Alexander Technique has been a major tool for me in terms of changing all sorts habits in addition to my posture.  Some of my students sign up for lessons in order to improve their postural habits because of a physical problem and end up, to their surprise, addressing other sorts of habits as well.  It's easy to turn a leaf over, but more difficult to keep it that way in the face of the blustery wind of habit.  The Alexander Technique can help your resolutions to stay put.

1.  Exercise - If you've resolved to embark on a regular exercise routine this year, an injury could put a wrench in your plans.  Injuries cause by strain can be avoided through improving the accuracy of your body awareness and addressing general habits of the way you hold your body.  Unconscious habits from daily activities such as sitting at your desk or frequent texting may become unconscious and will likely carry over into and affect your work-out.  You can apply what you learn in your Alexander Technique lessons during your work day and while you work out.  You'll use your body more efficiently, which gives you more energy and helps you to enjoy the pleasure of moving while you work out, rather than zoning out or watching the clock waiting for your 30 minutes to be up.  Also, when you are more conscious and present during your work-out, you'll engage your whole body more fully and may get a lot more out of your work-out.

2. Diet - I think that a helpful component to changing eating habits is being present.  Improving your posture, how you move, and breath through the Alexander Technique helps you to feel more centered and in the moment.  When you're present, you are in tune with how you are feeling, which makes it easier to be conscious about what and how much you eat, rather than wondering what happened to the entire bag of chips during the movie you were watching.  You may feel more grounded and supported by your own feet and less likely to reach for comfort foot.  Feeling more present also may help you to tune in more clearly to how you respond to stimuli, including how you feel after eating certain foods.  You may become more discerning about what foods make you feel good and vice versa.

3.  Reducing Stress - Speaking of responding to stimuli, feeling stressed is a way we respond to a stimulus that we overwhelmed by.  Your posture can be affected by how you habitually react to stress and then how you literally hold yourself up to stay sitting and standing involves overusing the same muscles that you over use in response to stress (like tensing the back of neck and shoulders).  A cycle ensues where the stress response feeds the poor posture and the poor posture feeds the stress response.  Changing your posture through Alexander Technique lessons helps you to break the cycle so that your body feels relaxed and supported and you can feel more calm in stressful situations.  These changes in habit can help you on busy days at work and to help you make more conscious choices in interpersonal interactions.

To sum up, a common theme in the three examples here are that you can change deeply ingrained habits by changing how you feel.  Alexander Technique lessons help you to feel differently in your body (more supported, present, and balanced), which gives you a fresh perspective on how you can be and what you can do that you may not have realized was possible.   You then avoid unknowingly trying to force change onto a foundation that is unconsciously stuck in a habitual mode of operation. 

Whether your New Year's resolution relates specifically to changing your posture or to something that changing your posture could facilitate, taking some Alexander Technique lessons is a great way to start off on getting some insight into how to go about changing what you'd like to change.  

Happy New Year!