We see it everywhere on the news, in articles, in commercials, on social media, and in more places that following a healthy lifestyle helps us feel better and live longer.
Yet, why do we engage in habits, urges, and tendencies that we know do not serve us?
Reasons We Want a Change
There are many different reasons that we have that make us want to improve our foundational health to help us with the positive, healthy change we desire! Reasons could be, wanting to lose weight or adopting a healthier diet, quitting smoking, drugs, alcohol, or to feel better overall!
It’s common for a lot of people to quit an unhealthy habit and in other cases to start a new significant one. This desire to change helps with both mental and physical health.
Healthy Habits to Follow
If you sincerely want to change your lifestyle to a more positive, healthier one, there are some essential, helpful steps you can do to get there and to stay there, away from the bad habits.
Be Aware of Your Habits
We have a lot of habits and most of them we repeat day after day. Whether that’s leaving dirty dishes in the sink until it’s overflowing every night, having a few beers every night or sleeping in until noon every day; they’re all habits, and in this case, they’re unhealthy habits.
If you repeat habits regularly, what eventually happens is, you start to feel comfortable with your practices which signal your brain to give you the message that what you are doing is important, so you repeat it. Something worth being repeated has to be good, right? Not all the time and certainly not with unhealthy habits!
Now imagine what could happen if you performed healthy habits regularly? For example, let’s say every day you wash all the dirty sink dishes, you walk the dog every night, or you drink eight glasses of water every day?
These healthy habits will have the same effect as the unhealthy habits, and since they ARE worth repeating every day because they ARE good habits, your brain will tell you that you need to repeat them regularly, and you will! When this happens, it’s difficult to change, which means that succeeding in these habits will be easier to achieve!
Set Small Goals and Achieve Them
Changing everything all at once is frustrating and very hard, but the process is easier if you set small goals that you can accomplish.
For example, if your goal is to drink more water a day, start with 1-2 glasses a day. Achieving this small goal will motivate you to want to do more, but if you start with eight glasses a day, you will find it too challenging, which will upset your motivation and you will likely quit.
Keep a Diary
Keeping a diary is something that a lot of people do when they want to develop new habits because they want to track their progress. Keeping track can help you compare where you’ve had unhealthy habits and where you’ve had healthy ones. It can show you where you achieved changing a pattern and in which ways were more difficult.
Keeping a diary for tracking is easy to do with an app or a physical calendar or notebook.
Change Other Things
Make some other necessary changes in your life and routine to trigger your need to accomplish your new healthy habit! Start adding something into your current routine that will make sure you follow through on your new healthy habit!
For example, if you want to go for more walks, invest in a dog because that dog will make sure you take him or her out often because if you don’t, he or she will pee all over your home! Or, find an accountability buddy that you can go to the gym with; if you don’t keep in contact with your buddy, he or she will bombard you with messages to show up and will strongly encourage you to come with them, making it harder to ignore that goal.
What’s a better way to achieve your goals than to set reminders? A little daily nudge can help you maintain and grow your new healthy habits, so set those timers!
You can use an alarm clock, a watch, or even an automated online computer program like Asana. Also, there are useful apps that you can download that have goal setting and habit features that you can customize to your goals!
Just make sure that with whatever you use, you stick with, otherwise using them won’t matter!
When Things Get in the Way
Other health issues can get in your way when you are striving towards healthier habits, so when this happens, talk to your health professional. They can sit down with you to figure out where you are in life, where you aspire to be and if there are any other health concerns in the way. They can work with you to help your change feel more comfortable and to support you with what they know you need to be more successful in your journey.
Age doesn’t have to get in the way either. You are never too old to make healthy changes, so try all kinds of strategies until you find what works best for you!
Get Back on the Health Horse
As with anything in life, if you slip back into your old habits, don’t give up because this is entirely normal.
If this happens, look through your diary and remind yourself of the reason for why you wanted to make this change in the first place and hold onto that! If you need to put a sizeable sticky note on your wall to remind you of your reason, or a daily alarm with a note to yourself, do whatever works for you to get there!
Commit and Achieve
These practices can be successful if you pay attention to your habits and especially if you’re committed to change. Hard work can get you there and can help you succeed in achieving your healthy lifestyle goals! Commit to developing healthier habits to promote a better YOU!
Share in the comments below: What is ONE healthy habit that you can start to commit to today?