Forming Healthy Habits
Healthy habits help us to live healthy and balanced lives. Read more about effective ways to start forming healthy habits today.
Summer is finally upon us! With Summer comes a time of growth, freshness and renewal for nature, so why not take this time to grow within yourself. The past few months have brought a change in many routines and daily activities. This could have resulted in a change of routine, for better or for worse… With our province starting to slowly open up, we are going to start to see some of our old habits in our daily lives again. Now is great time to reflect on your habits and pinpoint areas where you could make healthy changes!
Habits are a reoccurring, often unconscious, pattern of behaviour, which is created by repeated actions. Habits can be both good and bad, and often make up many of our moments throughout the day. Forming healthy or changing unhealthy habits is not an easy task, but has lasting benefits for the future.
Tips for Forming Healthy Habits
Live proactively. When forming healthy habits, it’s important to understand why you are forming them. Think back to what your goals are (check out our blog post about setting effective goals). How do your current habits align with them? If they don’t, this is a great step to determining which healthy habit you want to start integrating into your day. Shifting your focus to the long term will also help drive you in the right direction. Understanding why you are forming these healthy habits will also help you to not only rely on motivation and will power to reach your goals. Habits can take longer to make, but are harder to lose.
Introduce healthy habits one at a time. Don’t try to take on too much all at once. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when wanting to make healthier choices. This is why picking 1 or 2 healthy habits to start with is more reasonable than changing every part of your current daily routines. Small actions can lead to big changes overtime.
Reward yourself with gratifying rewards that work toward the healthy habit. As habit forming is all about cues and rewards (reward yourself when you make a healthy choice). A new workout shirt that gets you excited to workout again or a snazzy new cookbook filled with healthy recipes make a healthier reward than is a better reward choice than ordering a large pizza. If you love to lay on the couch watching TV or reading, switch this habit to making a point of listening to a podcast or audiobook when you are out for a walk. Find activities that give you the same happy feelings as your previous habits did. Along this same note, if you have tried running on the treadmill or attending a spin class and you just don’t like it, then find something else to do! Healthy habits are not a one size fits all, and each individual is different.
Facilitate healthy changes using your environment. We are products of our environment, which is why our environment has such a large impact on our habits (both good and bad). If you are wanting to change your habits, a good place to start is to make your bad habits harder to do. If you find yourself eating unhealthy food, don’t buy junk food to have in the house. If you find you watch too much TV in the evenings, have a family member hide the remote on you. Make completing those unhealthy actions more challenging to decrease the likelihood you’ll engage in them. On a more positive note, make completing your healthy habits easier. If you want to eat healthy meals, take the time to meal prep to have healthy food in the fridge. Eliminate the steps in between you and healthy habits and increase the steps between you and unhealthy habits.
Start today and be patient. Forming a new healthy habit doesn’t happen overnight, but the sooner you start, the sooner the action becomes a part of your daily routines. If your healthy habits are a part of a larger goal, such as weight loss or skill development, it is natural to get frustrated if we are not seeing results as quickly as we may like. Remember that habits can take weeks or months to stick, and potentially even longer to show results.
So what is a healthy habit?
Although habits can look different for everyone, here are a few habits to consider taking up:
- Drink your coffee/tea without cream and sugar (or with a reduced amount).
- Before you flop on the couch after work, clean your house for 20 minutes.
- Replace your afternoon can of pop with flavoured sparkling water.
- Start spending Sunday afternoons meal prepping for the week.
- Get a massage once a month.
- Drink a full glass of water right when you wake up.
- Go for a walk around the block everyday.
- Visit the chiropractor for that troublesome pain.
- Practice 5-10 minutes a day for that skill you’ve been wanting to learn.
We hope to have inspired you think about making healthy changes in your life! If you are looking for more ways to incorporate healthy habits into your routines, a Personal Health Plan from Saskatchewan Blue Cross can help. A Personal Health Plan includes coverage for health practitioners such as massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and clinical psychologists. Make it a habit to take care of you!
Thanks to our friends at Huff Post and Nerd Fitness for information on forming healthy habits.