Habit is a repeated activity we do in our daily routine. Habits reflect the daily life activities that we don’t have to put much effort into and get used to doing that way. Our lifestyle is made up of habits. If we have good habits, this means we have a healthy lifestyle, and bad habits mean an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you have decided to turn your life around by developing healthier habits, you have taken the first step successfully. But how do you actually do it? It can be not easy to give up the years-long habits you have developed, but if you have to maintain a healthier lifestyle, you need to put in some effort.
Health is not a goal you can reach and then move on to other things. It’s with you forever; being healthy means adopting a healthy lifestyle forever.
Here are six hacks to build good habits.
- End Bad Habits:
Building new habits can do no good if you have bad habits that will outweigh the benefits of good ones. Even if you develop a habit of, say, exercising daily, but you smoke or drink, it will outweigh the benefits of exercising. So, while focusing on making new good habits, don’t forget to end your bad habits too.
Having bad habits like drinking or smoking can harm your life more than you can imagine. In case you have a serious problem, you can get treatment from rehabilitation centers in your area. For example, if you live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Delphi Health Group can help you.
The journey to healthy habits begins by giving up bad ones that are pulling you down. For example, increasing your exercise time from 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily but not giving up junk food, sodas, excess sugar, etc. will have a less positive impact than working out for the same 30 minutes but giving up these bad habits.
- Stack Your Habits:
According to experts, it’s easy to make a new habit and stick to it in the long run if you attach it to an existing habit. This means when you have daily activity, you must do, no matter what, incorporate another activity into it.
This will make it easy for you to do it, and you subconsciously will not have to put in the extra effort. For example, as you brush your teeth daily, start doing an easy physical movement with it, like calf raises or squats. Do a yoga pose while listening to the news. Meditate for even as little as a minute while your coffee is brewing, etc.
Since you will be doing a daily routine activity already, stacking up a new one with it means you will start doing that daily, too.
- Have a Sustainable Diet:
Shift your focus from making big sudden changes in your diet to small, sustainable, healthy eating habits. You cannot, and should not, eliminate a complete food group from your diet and term it as healthy eating. To develop healthy eating habits, take the sustainable route. Start giving up your bad eating habits one by one.
You can also start with limiting them instead of giving them up. If you have junk food four days a week, start limiting it to three days a week, then two, and then one. Similarly, if you drink too much soda and consume lots of sugar, giving up both things simultaneously will lead you to relapse.
Understand your body and what it needs. Eat the recommended amount of every food group, and the best approach is to go for healthier alternatives instead of never eating a thing again. If you like desserts, you can eat a date or two; it’s healthy and sweet. This way, you can satisfy your cravings and also eat healthily.
- Be Patient:
According to a study, it takes people somewhere between 18 and 254 days to build a new habit. The median time is 66 days. So, on average, you will need at least 66 days to develop a new habit. So you must be patient, as well as consistent. Do the task each day to turn it into a habit.
Not only be patient regarding time but be patient with yourself too. Even if it takes exactly 66 days to form a habit, it’s a long time, and there will be many surprises along the way. And sometimes you might even miss the opportunity to do an activity, say, exercising for a day, in between. But don’t worry; a study shows that missing a workout for one day will not impact your long-term goals. Just get right back on track and give this some time.
- Utilize Peak Energy Time:
You will have a moment daily when you feel like changing your life and decide to exercise every afternoon from now on. And when that afternoon arrives, you are just too tired to do it. The thing is, you need to adjust the timing of new habits to your energy levels.
This means when you are trying to develop a new habit, do it at that time of the day when you have the most energy. Most people are the most energetic in the morning; it’s easier to do yoga, strength training, read, clean, or whatever habit you are trying to develop in the morning. As you will run out of energy as night approaches, you will have lesser motivation to do the routine things, let alone do something new, that too, repeatedly.
Look at your routine and when you feel the most energetic throughout the day when you can incorporate the new habit.
- Reward Yourself:
Rewarding yourself is a huge factor in forming new habits. Know that there will be setbacks, uncertain situations, unexpected events, etc. That can make you lose focus, but you can control this by setting rewards for yourself for not giving up and continuing the activity.
When you look at it, our daily habits are all incentivized by rewards. Such as, brushing our teeth will improve dental health, working hard means we will earn more money, exercising will lead to losing more weight, and so on.
Of course, some goals take a longer time to reach, and you cannot wait for that long to reward yourself. So divide the task into small intervals and reward yourself accordingly.
Reward yourself when you have done something consecutively by going to a spa, buying makeup or clothing, etc.
Building healthy habits sound intimidating, but it is not impossible. You can build new habits by repeatedly doing an activity daily for a while. These six ways will guide you on how to easily build healthy habits and stick to them.