We want good health habits because we want to feel good and it’s important to take care of ourselves. We know they are important. Eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, exercising. Yes, Yes, Yes. But it’s not easy.
Follow this 5-part process below to successfully create any health habit.
Choose a health habit that will support your diet, sleep, regular exercise, stress management, and relationships. Choose something you feel you need. It can be a habit that will be easily added to your daily lifestyle. It can be something that would make a significant different in your health and how you feel. It can be something you have tried and haven’t previously been successful. Made a decision and have a reason.
Visualize. This is a little woo-woo but I promise it’s for a reason. Take a moment, close your eyes, and visualize your day with this health habit. How do you feel? Do you feel happy? Calm? Rested? Do you have energy? What are you doing? What are you eating? Buying? Who are you with? This mental picture and feeling is a motivation that you will keep going back to while you work on creating this health habit.
Create a path. The health habits we keep are made by making micro-changes in our daily lives. Map out what you do each day for a week. Identify where you could make a micro-change to create this health habit. It could be filling half your plate with vegetables, getting up 10 minutes early to meditate, eating a simple lunch so you can take a walk after you eat. Use your regular routine as your starting point and make a micro-change to start carving this health habit into it. Use weekly progression to settle the habit into your lifestyle.
Practice. Anything we want to be good at requires regular practice. This includes health habits. When we are good at our health habits they stay in our lives for a long time. Practice for at least 30 days.
Do it with someone. Community, even if it’s just with one other person, is a fantastic motivator for creating health habits. They provide you accountability, a cheerleader, a support system. Consider working with a health coach or other health professional if you need more personalized support.
Progress, not perfection. The goal is to move forward. If you don’t practice your health habit one day (or two, etc), get back to it the next day and that keeps you moving forward.
Have compassion. Creating a health habit is really hard. You are trying to re-program years of routines and habits. They take time and patience. You will be frustrated and want to give up. Great job for getting yourself this far. Be kind to yourself.