Healthy habits aren’t about willpower. They’re a step beyond willpower, so that our healthy actions come naturally. It might take some willpower to get there, but that’s why we wanted to help. This article explores ways to create healthyhabits.
HEALTHY HABITS TO CONSIDER
Before we discuss how to create your healthy habits, let’s look at a few common goals, many of us are trying to turn into habits:
EATING FRESHER AND HEALTHIER
Eliminating processed foods and introducing more fresh produce, quality proteins and healthier fats.
DO SOMETHING ACTIVE EVERY DAY
It doesn’t have to be hardcore, but exercise is a pilar of a healthy lifestyle. A 30 minute walk every day is enough to make a big difference.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
About 30% of us don’t get enough sleep every night. Seven hours is what most adults should be aiming for.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress has a number of bad effects on the body. Finding ways to manage stress such as yoga, meditation, practicing gratitude, etc can significantly improve your immune and cardiovascular systems.
DEVELOP QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS
Deep, loving, and supportive relationships are key to our mental health. Taking time to nurture them benefits us and our loved ones.
TIPS TO CREATE HEALTHY HABITS
Behavioural scientists who have studied the formation of habits say most of us try too hard to make a habit stick. They recommend against making bold resolutions, such as those we make at the beginning of the year. Instead of jumping in the deep end, try these expert tips.
STACK YOUR HABITS
People find most success with their habit making when they tie a new habit to an existing habit. Analyze your day, while looking for ways you can use current habits to create new positive habits.
ADD THE HABIT TO YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
Many of us are better at sticking to habits in the morning. Not only do we already have a routine that’s easy to stick to, it’s proven we have more willpower in the morning than later on in the day.
If your morning routine is packed, find time at the end of the day. This is the second biggest routine we tend to settle into. The downside is that the end of day can be hard for habits such as exercise, or healthy eating.
DO IT DAILY
When a variety of individual healthy habits were analyzed, researchers found that we saw greater success when the activity was practiced daily. This is one of the reasons why they recommend we start small. Many people find it easier, for example, to exercise and stay committed if they’re working out 30 minutes a day, rather than 60 minutes every-other-day.
Additionally, a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology has shown us how long it takes for a new behaviour to become a habit. Different people saw different results with their habits, but the range was 18-254 days, with 66 days as the median.
That’s why they recommend small, consistent steps that you can commit to daily. And while it might be easier said than done… try not to get frustrated until you’ve been doing it consistently for two months. The two-to-four-month range is when you should start needing less willpower, because it’s now become a healthy habit.