How to have healthy habits
If you’re like me, you want to have healthy habits in place to support you as you get older. And so, you’re probably aware positive habits can help to support you to manage life’s challenges, keep healthy and stay motivated.
I know, it’s not easy to do the things you know you should be doing. Often we know what to do to take care of ourselves. But, at the end of a long day, Netflix and a glass of wine seems so much more tempting than that visit to the gym.
Understanding your habits and how to create healthy ones can help make life easier for you without having to think too much about it. This helps when you’re feeling stressed, tired and lethargic and all you want to do is sit on the sofa and eat and crisps. Once those healthy habits are in place, you end up taking action without even thinking about it.
What are habits?
Habits are things you do on repeat without much thought or effort. They’re often automatic behaviours you’ve learned over time by practising them regularly. Most daily activities are habits, whether it’s brushing your teeth, driving to work, choosing what to eat or how you relax after a stressful day.
Creating healthy habits helps lock positive daily actions into your routines. This way they become automatic and you don’t need to think about them anymore. Then you can have more energy to devote to all the other things in your life.
Habits can make life much easier. For instance, getting into the habit of preparing your lunch for the next day can help reduce the chance of you being tempted by fast food at lunchtime. And it will give you more time as you are getting ready for work in the morning.
For more on eating habits look at https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/five-ways-mindful-eating-can-stop-you-overeating/
Once something becomes a habit, you tend to continue to do it, even when that first flush of motivation has faded. As habits become second-nature, they become a large part of who you are. So, once the habit loop’s formed to drink water, eat healthily or exercise regularly, it stays in place. As a result, the part of the brain that’s needed to focus on the activity and motivate you to do it isn’t needed any more. This means, even if you’re feeling low or can’t be bothered, your habit kicks in so you take the action to support you to have a healthy and productive life. And as this is all automatic, it frees up your mental energy so your brain can focus on other things.
For more on how to keep motivated check out https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/improving-motivation-without-trying-too-hard/
Here are my five top tips for creating healthy habits to support your life.
1. Add new habits to old ones
It’s much easier to add to an existing habit than trying to create a new one. So, tying new habits to things you already do is a simple way to make them part of your daily routine.
So, instead of planning to go for a walk later, plan to go for a walk right after dinner every evening. Instead of planning to do some exercise, dance around the kitchen every time you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. Or you could add a glass of water to your morning coffee.
2. Reward success
Positive emotions can help you to stay motivated to stick to new habits. Having happy memories of feeling good about your actions help reinforce your new habit. So, when you perform your new habit, treat yourself to a small reward. Try and make sure your rewards reinforce your new habit, so for instance you could:
reward going to the gym consistently with some new gym kit
reward leaving work on time with half an hour reading a novel
reward eating a healthy meal by treating yourself to your favourite fruit for dessert.
Even small rewards will reinforce a new habit.
3. Set small goals
Start with a small goal rather than trying to make a huge shift from your normal behaviour.
Creating a new habit is much easier if you focus on starting with something small and realistic for you.
So instead of trying to walk to work every day, start by getting off the bus or train one stop earlier and gradually work your way up.
Or rather than changing your diet completely, start by adding a piece of fruit to your lunchtime sandwich.
4. Get support
Having a support system in place can make it easier to build new habits over time. You could try joining a social group or enlist the help of friends or family to help you stick to your new habit. This helps you to be accountable and makes it more difficult to back out of your commitment. And, more importantly, once others know you’re working toward a goal, they’ll be more likely to be encouraging and supportive.
This could mean asking a friend to join you on as you get fit or eat more healthily, joining a sports or meditation group or simply sharing your goals with others. Whatever you choose, having a support network can help you to stay on track.
5. Give it time
The time it takes to build a new habit varies from person to person. No matter how long it takes to build a habit, whether its a few weeks or a few months, it’s worth the time and effort.
Researchers studying how people form habits found that it can take anything from 18 to 254 days to form a habiti. So, new practices can take a long time to create. But, they do form faster if you do them more often. So, this makes it important to start with something that’s easy and practical to do for you.
It can be challenging to stay motivated while you’re building new healthy habits, especially if progress seems slow or setbacks occur. There are ways you can help to stay focused on what you want to achieve. Hypnosis is a fantastic tool to help keep you on track while you’re creating healthy new habits. For more on how hypnotherapy can help you take a look at https://www.blossomhypnotherapy.com/how-can-hypnotherapy-help-me/
You can find out more about healthy habits from the NHS here
If you’d like to know how I can help you to improve your habits contact me for a chat.