Did you know that it takes eight to 12 weeks to form a habit? A big part of bouncing back is trying new things to help us get more out of life. But if we only do them for a week or two then give up we won’t really be changing things for the long term. So sticking with it and staying motivated are really important skills for bouncing back.
This how to guide is here to give you some ideas on how to stay motivated when things get hard and that little voice in your head is saying ‘I can’t be bothered!’
Start by making a pledge
Use pledges, primes and rewards to help you on your way. Scientists tell us these make it more likely we’ll succeed at what we’re trying to do!
What’s a pledge? A pledge is a promise you make public – you make it to someone who will expect to know how it’s going. Use regular pledges to make your bounce back moves happen.
Pledge to do something on a certain day or a certain number of times.
Pledge to push yourself to the next step of your move.
Write it down! Stick a note on your bedroom door or put it in your journal.
Make your move
Prime yourself for success
Priming means putting prompts into your environment - like a sticker on your mirror or a post-it on your fridge - or using routines to ready your brain for the action you want to make.
Prime the people and things around you to help you make your moves.
If you’ve pledged to play football with a team on Thursdays, prime yourself for the move by leaving your football kit out the evening before.
If you’ve persuaded your family to spend time together in the evening and pay attention to each other over dinner, lay the table before you go to school.
Reward yourself when you succeed
Use rewards to give yourself a pat on the back. For example, if you’ve pledged to go along to a new club once a week for four weeks, reward yourself after four weeks. Bring a friend along next time, ask your parent or carer to make you your favourite meal or ask your teacher, mentor or carer for a special sticker.
Focus on the positive
Our minds are much more likely to pay attention to negative things than positive things - it’s just how our brains are wired. So when you find yourself paying attention to that little voice saying ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I can’t be bothered’, make a conscious choice and think about all the times in life you found something hard but managed to do it.
Keep going, keep positive and enjoy the rewards of bouncing back.