The Change Journey

Staying on Track

When we take on big changes in our lives, we don't always get it 100% right the first time. Staying on track takes practice and learning from what has happened and having a plan for next time is what counts. That includes making sure to look after yourself too.

  • Changing old habits, attitudes and behaviours can feel like you’re swimming against the tide.

    Just like learning new ways of doing things, staying on track takes practise too. The good news is the more this becomes your new normal the easier it gets.

    We invite you to watch these short videos and consider what could be useful as you navigate the ups and downs in your own journey towards change.

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    Appreciation and noticing

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    A new operating system

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    Here’s some tips to keep what you’ve learnt in mind and stay on track.

  • Understand how your brain works and you will be more aware of how you think and act. You can try new skills and habits when you’re in the right mind-set. You can change. You just have to work at it.

    Your habits and the things you do make pathways in your brain. Habits make pathways that look like superhighways. Things you’ve just learned make pathways that look like narrow dirt tracks. To form a habit, you need to do that new activity many times. You’ll turn that dirt track into a superhighway. The new habit will become part of you.

    Once created, those superhighways last for as long as your new habit remains.

    We invite you to watch these videos explaining how our brain works and the importance of forming helpful habits for your family’s wellbeing.

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    How our brain works

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    Family wellbeing is a habit

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    The brain
    Here’s how we experience thoughts, emotions and behaviours when we’re using the three main parts of the brain.

    It’s called the Reptilian Brain because reptiles have brains that only have these functions. This part of our brain is like the life support system - it keeps our body alive and makes sure our organs are working.
    Research tells us that when we’re really angry we’re reacting from this part of the brain – have you ever thought after something has happened “Why did I do/say that?” or not remembered doing/saying something?

    This is the part of our brain that makes us similar to other mammals. This part is where we experience our emotions, memories, habits, and attachments. We experience our “gut feeling” here too.
    Fight and flight modes happen when we’re using this part of our brain and we operate on auto pilot. This means we have rigid reactions to events, because we’re not able to think things through and make choices about how we respond.
    In this part of our brain we’re able to practise and use coping strategies to deal with our emotional responses to events. Practising being aware of how we feel keeps us operating in this part of our brain and quietens our Reptilian Brain responses.

    This part controls our seeing, hearing, talking, and thinking. It is where we can sort things, organise, use logic, and rationalise to make decisions and solve problems. All of the things that make us human.
    Recognising, opening and calming our emotions helps us to keep the neo-cortex part of our brain active. We can control the way we think - it will take information, learning and practice when we’re in the neo-cortex part of our brain so that it can become easier to do. Becoming more mindful means we’re able to stay online in this part of our brain even when things aren’t going so well in the moment.

  • Part of staying on track is about making sure you’re looking after yourself so that you’re in a good mindset to keep practising the new things you’ve learnt. When things get tough you can draw on your support system or new skills. Find some some ideas for how to look after yourself below.

    Connecting with others
    • Spending quality time with family/whānau and friends
    • Have open discussions with your trusted people
    • Be intentionally compassionate to others
    • Get involved in your community, volunteer and help others
    • Understand the needs of your loved ones and family/whānau
    • Let people know what changes you have made so they can support you
    • Find ways of connecting up with like minded people
    Doing things for yourself
    • Build fun into life - get a new hobby or interest, go on dates with your partner or children/tamariki
    • Get enough sleep, eat healthily, go outside
    • Don't overbook yourself - give yourself permission to do nothing and take time for yourself
    • Find your special place and visit often
    • Watch things that make you feel safe and good
    Working on yourself
    • Be ok with being a work in progress - you're on a journey
    • Reflect on the benefits of change and celebrate your progress
    • Forgive yourself, but don't forget
    • Accept that you might not regain the trust of those you have abused
    • Be realistic with your wants and needs - set goals you can achieve
    • Keep a journal to jot down thoughts
    • Limit/monitor drug and alcohol use
    • Forgive those who have hurt you
    • Be ok to put things aside to deal with later
    • Read or listen to healing stories
    • Get counselling for deep hurts, old experiences or losses that can get in the way of change
    • Use your faith (whatever that looks like)
    • Know your triggers

    Now you have some ideas for how to look after yourself, we invite you to watch this video on time in skills. Here you can consider what steps you could take to improve your relationship with yourself and others, and support family wellbeing.

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    Time in skills

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  • Tool
    Tool
    Use this tool to check in on how you're feeling about your mental, physical, spiritual and community wellbeing.
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