We are creatures of habit. I don’t even think we realize all of the little habits we pick up. Over the years, we form habits… some good and some not so good. And as you know, habits are hard to break. But, if you want to intentionally change your behaviour for the better, you can create new healthy habits.
What are healthy habits? They are healthy things that become like second-nature. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk. Or it could be work related, or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging. I’ve read that it takes more than a month of doing something repeatedly in order for it to become a habit.
Examples Of Healthy Habits
What are some examples of healthy habits?
- Eat more veggies
- Get outside more
- Exercise daily
- Be more grateful
- Spend more time with your family
- Read more
- Watch less tv
- Drink more water
- Be more organized
- Reduce your waste
- Be kinder to others
- Improve your posture
So how can you take some of these suggestions and turn them into habits? Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To Do
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day”. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
The next few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits.
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.
Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
Which brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack.
Congratulations! Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new healthy habit.
Now here are 9 healthy habits to start today!
9 Healthy Habits to Start Today
When it comes to living a healthy life, those small habits can add up to something more significant over time. This can go both ways. Just as healthy habits can strengthen your health, unhealthy habits can weaken you and make you more vulnerable to disease.
Consider developing these healthy habits. Over time, they can make a massive, positive difference to your overall health:
- Use the stairs. Whether you are at home or in the office, use the stairs as much as you can. Avoid using the elevator or escalator if possible and you’ll notice that both your legs and heart will tone and strengthen over time.
Drink an extra glass of water daily. Water is incredibly important for good health. Little by little, you can cut out soft drinks and replace them with water.
- Not only is water free of any calories, but also helps to keep your temperature at a normal level, lubricate and cushion your joints, and protect your spinal cord. It also helps to remove waste via urination, sweat, and your bowel movements.
- Go for a daily walk. Going for a daily walk is a healthy form of low-impact exercise. Plus it’s good to get some fresh air too, as it can help clear your mind of stress.
- Sit up straight. Good posture can help prevent aches and pains, while also reducing stress on your ligaments. If you find yourself forgetting to sit upright, leave a note for yourself, and it will soon become an unconscious habit.
Get more sleep. If you aren’t getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, you may find yourself feeling lethargic the following day. Over time, many of your systems can be negatively affected by lack of sleep.
- You’re likely to crave unhealthy foods too. Lack of sleep causes the hormones that control your hunger to become disrupted, leading to these cravings.
Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat something rich in fiber and something full of protein. This is because they can both fill you up and keep you full until lunchtime, helping to avoid those mid-morning cravings.
- Fiber and protein both have additional long-term health benefits. For example, fiber is good for your digestion, while protein helps to maintain your muscles.
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in various nutrients that your body needs for good health. Add at least 2 vegetables to each meal and opt for some fruit when you want a snack. If you can’t get them fresh, frozen is your next best alternative.
- Balance on one leg. Stand on one leg for 10 seconds before switching to the other leg. This is a simple exercise that can become part of your neuromotor training. It can help improve your balance, agility, and mobility.
- Weigh yourself each week. Make a note of your weight on a particular day. Then weigh yourself on the same day the following week and each week thereafter. Since weight tends to fluctuate daily, a weekly weigh-in will help you keep better track of your weight.
These healthy habits are easy to develop. To start, just add one or two. Once those activities become habits, add in another couple. Before you know it, you’ll start to feel healthier, with energy to spare.
What healthy habits are you forming? I’m trying to eat healthier, change my mindset to be more positive and full of gratitude, and get outside more!