Building healthy habits can help us feel better and fulfilled, but doing so requires a lot of effort and not everyone can be that much consistent in the face of adversities. Almost everyone has tried to build some healthy habits at some point in their lives, such as trying to wake up early, quit smoking, stay away from junk food, exercise daily, reduce stress, and sending more time with the family. If you’re facing difficulties in bringing any of these positive changes in your life and sustaining a healthy lifestyle, we’ve got you! Have a look at some of the easy and manageable tips to attain a healthy lifestyle and build healthy habits along the way.
1. Know Your Habits
The first and foremost step in building healthy habits is to know your habits. Observe your daily habits – repetitive behaviors, that include brushing your teeth or having drinks at night. Such behavioral patterns become automatic that affect your brain and are harder to change with time. You must observe the daily habits and notice which are the ones that trigger unhealthy habits or patterns.
For example, maybe you tend to binge eat while watching your favorite 9 PM show and without even realizing, you’re developing an unhealthy addiction, i.e even if you’re full after dinner time, you still end up munching on them. According to Dr. Lisa Marsch, an expert in behavior change at Dartmouth College,
“The first step to changing your behavior is to create an awareness around what you do regularly”
2. Make a Plan
When you succeed in pinpointing the healthy habits that need to be built, start planning. This plan should include reasonable and realistic goals and specific actions that you’ll take to build those habits. For example, if there’s a vending machine at work that you walk by every afternoon and end up eating something unhealthy, you must come up with a plan and try to take a different route during the work breaks. This might sound like a little step but it can bring significant changes for those trying to get rid of their unhealthy behavioral patterns. Another important part of this plan can also include you bringing your own food to work.
You can also get your friends and loved ones involved and try to see things from their perspective. Ask them to help you stay on track during the process. It’s also important to think of the obstacles – what are the things or circumstances that might trigger you to go back to your old patterns and try to find the relevant solutions accordingly.
3. Stay on Track
Thinking of good and positive things does not cost anything but sticking to them does! There will be times when you’ll feel like sticking to the plan of building healthy habits is the most difficult task ever. Those are the times when you need to stay on track and don’t give in to negative thoughts. As Charles F. Glassman states,
“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success”
When trying to build a healthy lifestyle, do not forget to keep a record. You can use a computer program, a paper journal, or any mobile app to note the negative things that you stayed away from and the new positive changes you’ve brought in life. Whenever you feel like giving up, going back to those recorded entries of your progress can motivate and help you push forward.
4. Think about Future
According to Epstein, some people have a harder time resisting their impulses. He calls this phenomenon “delay discounting”, where you underestimate the larger benefits of waiting in return for something immediate or small. This can lead to unhealthy activities such as overeating, drinking, shopping too much, substance abuse, or risky sexual behavior.
Whenever you are having difficulty sticking to healthy lifestyle patterns, think about the future. Think about the good and beautiful things that will come your way if you stay away from unhealthy habits/patterns. Having a sneak-peek into that perfect life can help you motivate and work towards that goal.
For example, if you’re struggling with keeping yourself away from smoking, think of the future days where you won’t be stressing over the smallest things, your lungs would be clean and you won’t be coughing every 5 minutes. Learning to practice more and thinking of such smoke-free days might help you work for a better future!
5. Address Underlying Health Issues
Sometimes when you’re on your way to building a healthy lifestyle and adopting new habits, other health issues can get in the way. When facing extreme difficulties with changing certain behavioral patterns, ask yourself if there is more going on. Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety can also be tied to unhealthy behaviors.
You can consult a health professional who can work with you and address any underlying health issues. It’ll make the changing process easier and more successful. You’re never too overweight and out of shape to make healthy changes. Try out different strategies until you find the one that works best for you. As Arnold Bennett states,
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts”
6. More Actions – Less Words
As upfront as it may sound, when trying to develop some healthy habits, focus more on actions than mere words. It is nice to talk to yourself and take little breaks but that shouldn’t stop you from taking actual steps towards progress. Even if it’s a small step, learning to practice more can go a long way.
For example, if staying up late at night causes a headache in the morning and makes you extra grumpy, you can start with trying to sleep half an hour before the actual bedtime. Keep practicing this habit and increase your sleep time by half an hour every two weeks. Making such little steps towards the healthy goal will be very much effective.
Learn more about how a good night’s sleep can help boost your immunity.
Some Healthy Habits That You Should Add to Your Daily Life
In case you’re wondering what positive changes need to be introduced in your life, have a look at some of the best healthy habits that you can incorporate in your life easily.
- Use furniture and stairs as makeshift gym equipment
- Drink 1 extra glass of water a day
- Slowly replace diet soda with carbonated water
- Take a 20-minute walk every day
- Go to bed early
- Correct your posture
- Weigh yourself once in a month (work for it but don’t let the numbers get to you)
- Incorporate some easy beginner exercises into your routine
- Start your day with a healthy and fulfilling breakfast
- Include lettuce and greens in your meals
Healthy Habits – Healthier Lifestyle
Developing healthy habits might be easier said than done, but once you’ve mastered the art of not giving in to the impulses and staying consistent, it becomes easier to reach those health goals. Healthy habits mean a healthier lifestyle and a healthier lifestyle means fewer chances of you falling victim to toxic/unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, and fatal diseases like stroke, cancer, and type-2 diabetes. Even a simple healthy habit of regular stretching can improve blood circulation and help calm your mind.