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 maintaining a set of practices that achieve this can improve our mood, enhance energy and provide a sense of purpose.
Implementing long-term actions that fortify our future selves can ultimately become a way to enhance daily routines and help accomplish our goals. Healthy habits are often established within the context of self-care; sustaining activities that keep us on track and nourish a mindset that focuses on improving our overall health and wellness.
Forming healthy habits takes effort, planning, preparation and maintenance; not to mention finding solutions to barriers/changes that may come along and disrupt our progress. It all begins with a candid look at where we want a positive shift to occur. By establishing intent — then identifying practical and actionable steps — a plan can be put in place that grows into a habitual pattern of improvement and personal care (if consistently worked on).
Unhealthy habits typically become ingrained within our behavioural routine without us realizing they’ve taken hold; we frequently use/exhibit them without even thinking. Unfortunately, this means they can get unconsciously incorporated into our daily lives. To phase out negative actions and reactions; replacing them with beneficial changes, we need to start with small, repetitive and specific actions — building towards more favourable habitual attitudes and conduct.
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. | Psychology Today
Here’s some useful steps to consider when creating healthier habits …
- Have clear intentions about what you want to achieve (long-term)
- Develop specific goals that will support you reaching your intentions
- Breakdown your goals into small, defined actions that you can start doing immediately with repetition and ease — build on them when you’ve successfully implemented them over seven consecutive days
- Celebrate a goal being met by rewarding yourself in an appropriate way
- Repeat as necessary
How To Implement Healthy Habits
For example: Wanting to exercise more is a long-term intention that’s overly broad and noncommital; by breaking it down into a specific goal, such as walking every day for 30 minutes, helps to establish motivation and a way of measuring success.
Once a specific goal is decided on; streamlining it further into easy, immediate actionable steps — walking for 5 minutes as soon as you get home from work — helps to develop habitual practice. After seven days of success at walking for 5 minutes; build on that by increasing it to 10 minutes, then 15, etc. until the ultimate goal of 30 minutes is met.
Doing it this way may seem long-winded, but it can ensure any recent healthy habits are well maintained; becoming automatic and self-fulfilling in a way that better supports integration into our everyday lives.
Regardless if it’s for emotional, mental or physical well-being; introducing self-compassionate practices often requires an overhaul and mindset shift about how we approach taking care of ourselves. Changing aspects of our lifestyle in this way can generate uncertainty or concern; implementing acts that transform can seem overly difficult or too extensive to begin with. By separating something into small, attainable steps we’re offering ourselves the most realistic chance at establishing long-lasting healthy habits — after all, success breeds success.
Once we start accomplishing things that convey a sense of pride, purpose, self-love and renewed energy; what’s to prevent 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 something a habit is how we get there.
Go get ’em!
What healthy habits are you working on? What has helped keep you on track?
The Science of Habits – Psychology Today