Building New Healthy HabitsYou know you need to create a new healthy habit, but you aren’t sure it can happen. It’s hard to change, right? It gets harder the older we get too, right? Maybe you’ve already tried to eat better, get more exercise or sleep, quit smoking, or reduce stress. It’s not easy. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think? Instead of changing overnight, you can learn to break it up into chunks and take baby steps toward your new goal. Well, today is all about encouraging you to look at creating a new healthy habit differently. Our mission is to make it easier for you to develop a new healthy habit ASAP. Let’s get started!
What is a habit?It’s something you repeat, often without even knowing it. Some habits are good, some are bad. Most people want to learn at least one good habit or give up a bad one.
Some Examples of Good Habits
- Eating Healthy: This includes fruits and snacks that add nutrients to your body and boosts your health or immune system. A common opposite of this is to eat junk or processed foods just because they are appealing.
- Exercising: Flexing the muscles once in a while is fantastic for our body and makes our mind active to take on challenges for the day. This doesn’t even need you to go to the gym, because just taking a walk instead of driving from a nearby shop to another can be enough exercise already!
- Sleeping/resting Enough: Ahh! If it’s Lagos and enjoying the recommended 8 hours of sleep, that’s almost impossible. But sometimes, we too can be hard on ourselves even without knowing. Especially when we intentionally avoid sleeping to continue late-night work or projects.
- Maintaining relationships: Social connections help our brains stay healthy and happy! We can’t deny the fact we sometimes need people to share time with. Strengthen the relationship you already have and be open to making new friends. It’s healthy fun, anyway!
- Learning New Skills: New skills help our brain stay healthy and sharp. Have you been interested in any course or handwork but feel lazy to start, remember the golden rule: give to your brain, what you want your brain to produce for you (hope you know the original golden rule ooh. Lol)
- De-stress: When you’re stressing about things you can’t control or maybe someone wants to frustrate you in any way possible, just make a de-stress call right away!
- Relaxation and mindfulness: To be anxious can be very toxic, especially when it becomes part of you. Relax! Just calm down and be in the moment. Your mental health will appreciate you later for this, so much.
How To Avoid Bad HabitsList out what triggers your bad habit. If your goal is to eat less junk food, think about when and where you eat it. Is it when driving? Or you get it at the store nearby work? Probably just after dinner? Write them out and watch them closely to avoid the triggers as much as you can.
So if you buy chocolate from the store nearby at work, see if you can avoid driving past that route. If you smoke when you’re home alone, see if you can hang out more with friends or stroll to a nearby field to enjoy the feel of nature and open space. But don’t stop at that. Bad habits have a powerful pull once you decide to stop them. What should you do?Replace the bad habit with a good one. So if you can’t avoid the chocolate store at work, order delicious healthy snacks instead from Green Baskit and place them at your desk. Whenever the cravings come for choco, switch to healthy snacking that’s even better delicious. If that’s not comfortable for you, chew sugarless gum instead.
Developing Good HabitsIt’s difficult to change everything at once, but it’s easier to set small goals and achieve them stage by stage. This will help you develop new good habits easier. For instance, it will be easier to do 7-10 pushups a day than to just run a marathon. It might take you several months to create a new habit. Events trigger many habits. For example, washing your hands is triggered by going to the toilet. It will really help if you set triggers for your new habit as part of your existing routine. Setting reminders can help you maintain good habits. Set automatic reminders on your computer and your phone. There are also apps available that help with goal setting and new habits. Try them. If you slip back into your old habits, don’t give up – this is common. Just remember why you wanted to make the change. This will help you pick up where you left off.
STEPS TO CREATING A NEW HEALTHY HABIT
1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANTThe first step to building healthy habits is understanding what habits you want to learn. To do that, you need to define your goals for the new habit. Spend some time exploring what you want and need in your life at this very moment. Knowing this will allow you to move on to the next step — which is creating a plan.
2. MAKE A PLANOnce you’ve understood what you want to achieve with this new habit, you’ll need to create a specific plan backed up by realistic actions. Think about the small steps you can take to build a healthy habit and repeat them consistently to achieve your goals.
- Here are some examples of specific small actions you can add to your daily routine and eventually they will become habits:
- Meditate in the morning’s rush – starting your day feeling rushed will throw off your mood and may shift your routine. Save some time in the morning for reflection, gratitude, prayer or meditation. This will help to set the tone for a successful day.
- Enjoy a healthy breakfast – Because not everyone has the same appetite in the morning, so you can base your breakfast choices on your body’s needs and a breakfast rich in protein and healthy fats will provide energy and nourishment.
- Drink a full glass of water before leaving the house.
- Get some exercise during your lunch break.
- Have a healthy snack in the afternoon–this is usually the time of day when many people at work begin to “crash,” so being prepared with a healthy snack to boost energy levels will help to reduce cravings.
- Prepare your own dinner – cooking meals at home more often will help to reduce calorie intake and give you control of how to fuel your body.
- Choose a time for exercise and be ready – exercising at the same time every day will help make the action automatic.
- Read before bed–this also can help your body unwind in the evening and support restful sleep at night.
3. BE CONSISTENT
When you repeat the same healthy habits over time, your brain will naturally accept the behaviour and it becomes a habit you form in your subconscious. For example, if you drink a glass of water before eating breakfast every day, you’re likely going to be repeating this behaviour even without knowing. What this means is when you do this pre-breakfast activity consistently, your brain automatically prepares for it rather than relying on a decision to do it.
4. FIGHT THOSE SETBACKSWe can expect setbacks any time we are trying to achieve a goal. There will be days when you don’t follow your plan perfectly or don’t just feel like it and then skip a process or two or maybe even give in to the junk food cravings, and so on. But of course, the longer you stay away without performing the healthy habits, the harder it will be to come out of the setback. So, it’s okay to have days here and there that aren’t as planned but get back on track ASAP to keep the habit going.
5. REST ABEGAll work and no play makes healthy habits hard to keep. You want to work hard to stay healthy, no doubt. But you equally need some resting period too. Devote some time every week to relax and reflect. This could involve taking a yoga class, reading a book on the couch, or simply resting. Use it as a time to restore your body and mind for another week of wellness.
Remember Your ToolsWhile you’re about to get started already on this journey, remember to use the tools we’ve shared to help yourself create a healthy habit:
- Decide on a goal.
- Plan when and where you will start
- Choose a simple action you can take every day.
- Congratulate yourself when you actually take the steps
- It gets easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should “be doing well” at it without even thinking.