Healthy habits, such as regular exercise, good sleep, and a well-balanced diet, improve your well-being and significantly increase your happiness level. Bad habits, on the other hand, usually lead to growing stress and anxiety.
In this article, we will talk about the ways to develop new habits to help you stay healthy physically and mentally.
Why having healthy habits is important
A healthy lifestyle is an excellent way to prevent certain common health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. On top of that, this may help you become stronger, have more energy, maintain a healthy weight, feel better about yourself, and even become a role model for others.
Why is it so struggling to follow new habits?
It’s typical when we know what to do but don’t do it. For example, you know that I need to lose twenty pounds, but a cake in a bakery on the corner of Lilac street is so tempting. There are many other roadblocks you may face. For instance, “I don’t have time,” “I can’t make it alone,” “I have no money for healthy food,” “I don’t like sports,” “Healthy food is tasteless,” and so on.
To overcome these roadblocks, you need to have a good reason for adopting this new habit.
The change will likely never stick if you’re learning just to like vegetables. However, if you’re losing weight to fit into your dream wedding dress, this may help you start enjoying vegetables. So find a reason. Think of what you will get in return for your effort.
What else can you do to gain healthy habits?
Take one habit at a time
Sometimes we try to bite off more than we can chew. Then we get overwhelmed too quickly and lose the fire. Research showed that people who tried to master multiple things at a time were less committed and less likely to succeed than those focused on a single goal.
So don’t try to change too many habits too soon. Remember that small steps make for big victories.
Set a plan
Once you’ve chosen what habit you want to adopt, make a plan and set goals for taking action. For instance, if you’re going to lose weight, start with the following:
- Learn more about healthy eating and food portions;
- Look for bloggers who promote physical activities;
- Make a list of healthy foods, get a water tracker, and a workout plan. You can find free checklist templates and habit trackers here.
Gradually start making small changes to your lifestyle.
Start a habit tracker
The study found that sticking to the average habit takes about sixty-six days. After that, it becomes automatic. To stick with your new habits, try to keep a record of what you’re doing. You can use a regular notebook and a pen, but well-designed habits checklists can make the process more fun. You can track things like your diet, workouts, stress levels, water intake, and many more.
Change your environment
It’s easy NOT to practice yoga when you hide your mat in the closet. It’s also easy NOT to take your vitamins when they’re out of sight in the pantry. However, it’s easy to buy a cake when you walk home through a bakery and eat it while watching your favorite Netflix series. You do not have to be the victim of your environment. You’re the architect who can create it.
Below are a few ways to redesign your environment for healthy habits to stick more effectively.
If you want to remember to drink more water, put a glass or a bottle near your bed or directly next to the faucet on the bathroom counter (and in any other common locations around the house to drink water throughout the day).
If you buy a cake and buns every evening when you go home after work, try a different route with no tempting sweet stores on your way.
Be patient and reward yourself
Be prepared that results may not come quickly. On top of that, things may not go as you planned them, and that’s totally okay. Change is a process. Just keep moving forward and reward yourself after reaching a goal or milestone. For example, if you lost the first ten pounds, buy yourself new workout clothes or devices. You may also want to post a message on social media to share your success with your followers.
Examples of healthy habits
If you’re seeking to cultivate new healthy habits, consider these five ones to get you started:
- Exercising at least three times a week;
- Eating four to five servings each of veggies and fruits every day;
- Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily;
- Having at least seven hours of proper sleep every night;
- Learning to reduce stress and relax.
And don’t forget to use a free checklist maker tool to form new habits easier.
Choose what resonates with YOU
When choosing a new habit to adopt, keep in mind YOURSELF. Matching your personality with your new activities will increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with them. For example, if you’re an extrovert, you’ll likely enjoy sports like water polo, football, volleyball, basketball, and handball because they involve a high level of cooperation within a team. For introverts, it’s best to choose something that will provide relative autonomy. For example, swimming, skating, weightlifting, and hiking.
Try to discover what really motivates you and what you want from life. Adopt new habits because you want to and NOT because you’re trying to please someone by changing things in your life. Plan an exercise walk with a friend because it makes both of you feel great, or choose healthy meals because you enjoy trying new dishes. Remember that nothing good comes from pushing or punishing.
Most of us want to live long and happy lives, but unfortunately, we’re always too busy, old, overwhelmed, and unmotivated to make healthy changes. So we often take shortcuts with our health. Hopefully, this article will help you start implementing new important habits step by step and avoid frustration when things don’t go as planned.