Wellbeing & How to Improve It - Mental Fitness: Converge International - Page 17

So how can activities become habits and yet still
have a positive effect?
This conundrum has led researchers to propose that
there are two aspects to an activity becoming habitual.
The first is that an activity is regularly undertaken. The
other is that the activity is undertaken in a routine and
unvarying way. It is helpful for ongoing wellbeing if an
activity is habitual in the first sense. If less willpower
needs to be exerted to initiate an activity, it is more
likely to occur. However, it seems to be unhelpful for an
activity to be undertaken in a routine or habitual way in
the second sense.
There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that people
have to actually enjoy the activities they do. This means
that different people may choose to do different things
depending on their personality and values. Deciding
to implement a habit of “getting out into nature” may
involve running through a national park for one person
but this kind of activity might be so unappealing to
another person that they wouldn’t have the willpower to
implement this activity in a sustainable way.
They should instead think of a different way of
getting out into nature – possibly picnicking or
walking on the beach would work for them.37
In general, activities are most effective if they involve
sustained effort and motivation, if the activities are
varied somewhat and if they are in line with a person’s
Setting a goal is the first step to improving
The act of setting a wellbeing goal is an important part
of raising wellbeing – and the effort and intentionality
involved in setting a goal also has a positive effect on
whatever a person is trying to do to improve38.
After setting a goal, there are ways to implement change
that affect the chance of success. The following steps are
Make it fun
Own the goal
Make sure it’s your own choice. Make
sure you truly want to achieve the goal
and are motivated by it.
Keep a balance
It will be more sustainable if you don’t try to
do everything all at once. Start small, and as you
accomplish small things (having fun along the way)
you will find you can incorporate more activities.
Make sure it’s your own choice.
Make sure you truly want to achieve the
goal and are motivated by it.
Remember the big picture
This is all about improving wellbeing. So there’s
no such thing as failure. The only measure is
whether you are enjoying an activity and want to
keep going with it. Enjoying the activity is what
improves wellbeing, after all, and it should be selfsustaining because you will want to keep going
with something that is bringing you happiness. If
something isn’t working – it’s just not right for you.
Try something else.


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