Developing healthy habits doesn’t seem like it should be so hard. However, it is easy to tell yourself that you’re going to do something and then give up before that something becomes second nature. Studies have shown that approximately 45 percent of our behavior is driven by our habits, which means they’re essential for cultivating a healthy lifestyle. So how can you build good habits and actually make them stick? Read on to find out.
Unfortunately, becoming a creature of good habits isn’t going to be possible with some super secret five-step process for ultimate success. It takes dedication, patience, hard work, and commitment to your goal. Self-discipline is going to be your new mantra as you set off on this journey towards a better you. There are a few tips and tricks that can help you get started, however. But remember, these steps won’t sustain you. That comes down to grit and a determination to change your lifestyle. One day at a time.
With that being said, here are 3 ways to help your healthy activities become second nature.
Even a cursory search through a habit-forming plan or book will show you that this is usually the first step. It is the one universally accepted rule of developing good habits and sticking to them. You’re not going to eat better for very long if you decide to go completely cold turkey from a processed- sugar-laden diet to a whole foods diet with no transition period.
Instead of saying “I’m not going to eat any sugar today,” try making your goals more manageable by saying “I’m not going to have any soda this week.” Turning macro goals into micro goals can help you get past the immediate shock of forming a new habit and allow you to take it one day at a time.
Start with something so small and seemingly inconsequential that you can’t come up with a legitimate reason to say no or avoid doing it. You can eventually increase the level of commitment over time. The gradual increase will be much more sustainable than a sudden life change
Settle in for the long haul
Changing your habits doesn’t just mean changing what you do, you are radically changing who you are. Transitioning from someone who is slightly lazy and would prefer to spend their day off with a bag of chips on the couch, to someone who tries to better themselves through an active lifestyle. You will notice your personality begin to change for the better as you instill healthy habits deep in your subconscious.
Remember, this won’t happen overnight. You aren’t trying to get through a week or a month; you are trying to create habits that last a lifetime. Keep that in mind as you work through your manageable goals.
Accept the reality of failure
Be honest with yourself. You are not perfect. You are most likely going to stumble at some point in your habit-forming process as you essentially attempt to recreate yourself. This process isn’t easy and won’t come without a few frustrating days. The crucial step is getting back up again…and again. Throw guilt out the window and stop comparing yourself to others, just focus on developing a plan to help you succeed next time. Remember, the definition of insanity (according to Albert Einstein) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you keep failing, change something about what you’re doing and lower your goals to bring them within reach.
Good habits to develop:
Cultivating these habits will help you succeed in life and be the best possible version of yourself.
Focus on gratitude: Reminding yourself of all the good things you already have, and taking a moment each day to be grateful will completely change your outlook on life and increase your positivity.
Eat breakfast: Starting your day mindfully with a healthy breakfast will set you up for success. And yes, you may have to wake up a little earlier, but that is a good habit as well!
Exercise every day: This doesn’t have to mean an intense workout every day, but light exercise to increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping is an essential part of any healthy life.
Manage your time: Discover areas where you’re wasting time and make it a habit to be mindful of how you spend those precious minutes.
We are all creatures of habit. Are you going to let yours continue to hamper your quality of life or turn them into something good?