Any behaviour that benefits our emotional, physical and mental well-being is something that can be turned into a healthy habit. There’s no doubt that having a set of healthy habits in your life can boost your mood, energy, and sense of purpose. So what’s the best way to go about creating them?
The purpose of healthy habits is to implement long-term behaviours that benefit our future selves and ultimately become a way to enhance our daily routines to meet a set of goals we’ve set for ourselves. They can (and often do) involve self-care activities that become an established practice in our lives.
Forming a healthy, beneficial habit takes effort through planning, preparation and maintenance, not to mention finding solutions to barriers or changes that may come along. It all begins with an honest look at the areas of our lives that could be better or that we want to experience a positive shift and progress within. By establishing intent, then identifying actionable steps, a plan can be put in place that, if worked on, will grow into a natural pattern of improvement and personal care.
A lot of the habits we already have, we do without even thinking about them. They become automatic and ingrained in our daily routine and behaviour. Unfortunately for us, this also means that bad habits are just as easy to unconsciously incorporate into our daily lives. In order to change negative habits or introduce good ones that will actually stick and become habitual we need to start with small, repetitive, easy to do specific actions — if they’re easy, we’re more likely to do them and the more we do them, the more likely they are to become a habit that benefits us.
Experts advise that strategies such as creating a specific and reasonable goal for behavior change, being mindful of how one’s environment influences the effort to make progress toward it, and looping in other people who care about one’s progress can all help make the process of habit formation more successful. | via Psychology Today
Here are some useful steps to consider when creating healthier habits …
Have clear intentions about what you want to achieve (long-term).
Create specific goals that will help you reach your intention.
Breakdown your goals into small, buildable*, specific and easy actions that you can start doing immediately with repetition and ease.
*Add to the action when you’ve carried it out successfully for seven consecutive days.
To celebrate a goal being met, reward yourself in an appropriate way.
For example: Wishing to exercise more is a long-term intention that is too broad and noncommital. By breaking it down into a specific goal of walking every day for 30 minutes, establishes measurable success. Streamlining it further into easy, immediate, actionable steps, like walking for 5 minutes as soon as you get home from work, helps form habitual practice. After seven days of success at walking for 5 minutes, increasing it to 10 minutes, then 15, then 20, and so on, until the goal of 30 minutes is met, ensures buildability which helps with maintaining a new healthy habit.
Whether it’s our emotional, mental or physical health — whatever it is we want to achieve — it often takes a complete overhaul and shift of our mindset for it to happen. This can often be what stops us or gets in the way of starting on a healthier and more positivity-driven path because it seems too hard or too big to try. By breaking something down into small, attainable steps we are giving ourselves the best shot at a favourable outcome — and after all, success breeds success.
Once we start accomplishing things that bring us a sense of pride, purpose, self-love and renewed energy, what’s to stop us from doing more and more of what feeds our minds, bodies and souls? Dreaming big is welcome, encouraged and worthy, but starting small and making it a healthy habit is how we get there.
Go get ’em!
The Science of Habits – Psychology Today
How to Make Good Habits Stick: 7 Secrets From Research – Live Bold & Bloom