Habits make up our very being. They are automated ways of navigating through life. We don't give them a second thought and sometimes only realize we have them when they become a problem or someone points them out to us. Sometimes we strive to create new ones only to fall victim to old stubborn ones. Check out our 5 tips on how to create new healthy habits while limiting the effects our old bad ones have on our lives.
1. Make or Break one new habit at a time: A common habit derailer is creating too many at once. You are splitting your focus and decreasing the amount of attention spent on one task. It takes a while for a habit to become automatic and deliberate focus needs to be priority number one. This is challenging if you are taking on too much.
2. Set a time period: It can take some time to create a habit. It is best to start by giving yourself a set time frame to which you dedicate each day to developing your new habit. Continue to actively track your progress until the habit becomes second nature. Start with 21 days then increase to 90 days. Even with setting yourself a time frame, take it one day at a time. Focus on the present moment and keep notes on how you feel. It takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to make it a lifestyle. Take it one day at a time.
3. Choose a micro habit: Taking baby steps will help you stay committed. If healthy eating habits are your focus, start by changing one thing. Switch from two sugars in your coffee to one. Sub one egg white for one of your whole eggs in your omelette. Want to be more organized? Get your work clothes ready the night before. Start with small tasks that take only a few minutes to accomplish until it becomes second nature.
4. Actively identify the habit: Want to quit sugar? Why? What is stirring this desire to change? And even with you wanting this change what is stopping you? Making a conscience effort to decipher your thought process will encourage your brain to create new relationships between your brain and your habit. Actively reinforce this every day and you will create a better way of doing things that will overshadow your old habits.
5. Know your triggers: When does your bad habit rear its ugly head? Is it when you're bored? Feeling anxious? Hanging around certain people or places? Analyze the time and activities occurring before and after your habit. With enough practice you will be able to identify your habit triggers/cues and find different ways to preoccupy yourself. A habit has a cycle - cue - routine - reward. Find your cue, alter your routine and your reward will change. Came home late from work with no time to cook? What happens next? A trip to McDonalds? What's the reward? Feel good messages to your brain from the saltiness of the fries YUM! Let's change that! Came home late from work - (new routine) make a quick omelette filled with veggies (will be done in the same time it takes you to go through drive thru) - (new reward) satisfaction that you gave your body proper nutrients. Meal prepping in advance is also a great way to change your routine when that "Late home from work" cue arises.
Happy good habit hunting!
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