Have you decided that you want to establish and stick to healthier habits this year? Surprisingly, developing healthier habits is not easy even when we know what we need to do to be healthy and achieve our physical health goals. Human beings crave instant gratification and when life gets busy we default back to unhealthy habits simply because it’s a lot easier than putting in the work that is necessary to stay healthy. We tend to get stuck in an endless wheel of finding the willpower and motivation necessary to make lifestyle changes, taking on too much too soon and making commitments that we can’t stick to and then getting overwhelmed and giving up. The best way to develop healthier habits is by taking baby steps and making small changes that you can keep up with. This way the habits will eventually become second nature and then you can take on more new goals little by little until you have achieved the healthy lifestyle and habits that you aimed for. Here are some helpful tips on how to develop healthier habits:
What motivates you?
Why are you trying to develop healthier habits? Before you even think about making a change it’s important to determine why you are trying to stop bad habits. Think about it this way – your goal is to go to the gym more often because you want to build a healthy and fit body that makes you feel good about yourself. Your goal is to eat more vegetables because you want to lose weight and fit into your favorite pair of jeans.
What are your triggers?
Determine why you do the unhealthy things that you are trying to change. Do you snack out of boredom? Do you spend all your time after work watching TV or playing video games? Do you bite your nails because you are dealing with anxiety and stress? Once you figure out what triggers your bad habits you can work to recognize them and change the way you respond.
Set yourself up for success
In order to successfully develop healthy habits, you will need to stop relying on willpower and motivation. If you have to force yourself (willpower) to exercise then you will give up when you get busy, or you will find a different excuse as to why you shouldn’t go on your morning run. If you depend on motivation you will beat yourself up if you get too overwhelmed and lose motivation to keep going. The best way to successfully develop healthier habits is to make it part of your day and your lifestyle. For example, if you schedule your habits, like exercise, into your daily calendar or track your diet progress by keeping a food journal then it becomes part of your routine. After some time, you will automatically do the things that you once struggled with. Another way to set yourself up for success is by making it harder for you to break a healthy habit. Here are some ways to do this:
- If your goal is to run every morning, then lay out your running clothes and shoes by your bed at night so when you wake up you don’t have to waste time putting an outfit together. You can also place your alarm (or phone) on the opposite side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- If you are trying to eat healthier take the time to clear out all the junk food in your house. You won’t be tempted to look for snacks if you know there aren’t any! You can also start meal prepping so you always have healthy meals and snacks on hand whenever you get hungry.
- If you are trying to break a bad habit of watching too much TV, then you can actually set time limits and controls on your TV to help you break the habit. Try to plan different activities to keep you occupied like completing a puzzle, reading a book or taking on a fun new hobby.
When you are doing things that make you feel good, and when you are working hard to develop healthier habits it’s important to reward yourself for a job well done. This doesn’t mean you should binge on cake and ice cream after running five miles – instead pick a reward that is related to your habit. For example, if you have gone running every day for a month straight you can reward yourself with a nice new pair of running shoes.
If you are looking for a weight loss program to kickstart your new healthy habits then contact us to learn more about our services. We look forward to helping you become a healthier and happier version of yourself!