It’s amazing how difficult it can be to incorporate habits for healthy living into your daily life. It’s even more amazing how easy it can be to develop unhealthy habits! Trust me, it’s a struggle I have as well. Here are a few steps to take to help you develop habits for healthy living, and stick to them!
Identify the Habit
It’s important to identify the specific habit you want to start incorporating into your life. But it’s also important to identify the current bad habit that you’re trying to replace with the good habit! Say you want to make it a habit to start working out more often. What’s the current habit that is preventing you from doing that? I prefer to workout in the evenings. Often I’ll get home from work and tell myself I’m going to work out later after I’ve had time to eat dinner and relax a bit. Except once I’ve eaten, I have to push it off for at least an hour. And by the time comes for me to work out, I’m simply too tired and lazy, from having sat on the couch for the last two hours.
So that constant procrastination is my bad habit. And that’s the habit I need to change in order to incorporate my new, better habit.
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I’m willing to bet one of the biggest culprits causing people to give up on new habits, goals, and resolutions is that they set their sights too high. If someone who doesn’t typically work out decides they’re going to start doing 30 minutes of cardio 5 or 7 days per week, there’s a good chance that’s going to go downhill quickly. Start with small, manageable goals. Start with the goal of working out twice per week. Start with aiming for 15 minutes of cardio. Once you know you can consistently do that, you can increase it from there. Start with a habit simple enough, you know you’ll be able to reach it.
Create a Routine
If you’re truly going to develop healthy habits, then you need to figure out a way to incorporate them into your daily routine, so you don’t have to give them a second thought, or rearrange your schedule to accommodate them on a regular basis. Let’s go back to the workout example. Instead of regularly looking at your daily to-do list to figure out where you’ll fit in your workout, add it to your schedule from the beginning. Maybe you like to workout in the morning. Figure out what time you need to start getting ready for work, and decide how much time you need for a workout, and that will determine what time you’ll wake up. If you’re an evening exerciser like me, decide that you’re going to work out as soon as you get home, and plan the rest of the evening around. Maybe you’re someone who prefers to work out later at night. Not a problem! Decide what time that will be. Each evening at that time, drop what you’re doing and do your workout.
This goes for other habits as well!
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Make it Fun
One of the best ways I have found to incorporate new healthy habits is to make them enjoyable. When I decided I wanted to start working out regularly, I found some workouts that I genuinely enjoy doing. When I made the goal of eating healthier, I spent quite a bit of time looking for healthy recipes online that also sounded delicious, because not all healthy foods are boring!
Whatever the new habit you’re trying to incorporate is, find a way to make it fun. Maybe you want to work on cleaning your house more often. While you’re cleaning, blast your favorite music and sing along while you clean!
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Create a system that pushes you to stick with your new habits. You can work with an accountability partner. You could also let your spouse in on your goal, and ask them to encourage you, and throw reminders at you when you start to sway from your goal. Another great option would be posting about it on a blog! I used to write a “monthly goals” post each month, where I would share my goals for the month. Part of the reason I did this was to keep me accountable! There are plenty of blogs out there that started from someone’s desire to document and hold themselves accountable when making a major lifestyle change, and some of them have grown into high successful blogs!
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