Rachel Graber, BA, CPT
In today’s world, we are all a part of the busy, fast track lifestyle that is the way of the modern world. The demands of work life and family/social life can be very time consuming. Many people want to improve their life with a healthier lifestyle, but getting started and staying on track can be overwhelming. To make changes and goals more manageable, it is important to break them down into smaller steps that are achievable within your current lifestyle. These habits are essentially building blocks to a healthier lifestyle.
How can we make habit-building a reality? My first tip is to add one habit to your routine at a time. This will avoid overwhelming yourself with too much of your goal at once. Of course, this is subjective to each person and their individual routine. If you want to start eating healthier, but find it very overwhelming to restart your diet at once, start by making small changes. Maybe start by adding a serving of fruit or vegetables to each meal. Once that becomes a habit, start taking note of your protein intake. As you get comfortable with each habit you can add another small change.
The next tip is to plan a consistent schedule to build your habit around. This could be setting a certain time of the day every day or a certain day of the week. If it is always done on a consistent schedule, you will be more likely to remember and stay on track. You can even mark it in your calendar or planner and stick to it for a couple of weeks. Consistency is key for building a habit.
Are you still finding it hard to keep track of a new habit? For this tip, try attaching the new habit to an already existing habit in your routine. The pairing of the two habits will serve as a reminder to keep you on track with your new habit. For example, after you brush your teeth at night you could add a short stretch routine or after your lunch try talking a walk.
As humans, we often base our decisions on our feelings, so try to attach positive feelings to the habit you wish to create. Building a habit may quickly turn into a chore if we do not feel good about the action. Remember to envision the positive result of the habit and keep that in mind as your motivation. Think about how you feel refreshed after you drink that extra glass of water, and you have more energy throughout your day when you stick to your exercise routine. Positive thoughts lead to positive results.
Remember, life happens, and we cannot stay on track 100% of the time. Missing your habit plan one day will not ruin your progress if you get right back on schedule and keep going. If you are looking to make changes in your routine, start with a good habit and try out one of these tips. You are on your way to that healthier lifestyle goal. Happy habit building!