It in an unfortunate truth of the world that we live in that bad habits die hard. Why is It a lot easier to fall into the routine of going to bed at 2 am and getting up at midday, than it is to climb out of bed at 6.30 am? Fresh as a daisy and ready to start the day? Likewise, it seems much simpler to start eating a sweet treat after every meal than to cut out sugar altogether? Why is that? It’s because establishing healthier habits often requires some sort of sacrifice or uncomfort and as humans, we’re programmed to not like that very much. But it is possible with a little effort and a lot of smarts, to establish habits that are good for you. Read on to find out how.
Set a specific goal
The first thing you need to do if you are trying to get into a healthy habit is to have a specific goal to work to. For example being fitter is way too vague. Instead, you might say I want to give up smoking. Or, I want to be able to run for 10 minutes a day.
Having a specific goal makes it a lot easier to get into a positive habit because you know exactly what you are aiming for, and when you have reached it. Nebulous targets, where the goal posts move as soon as you get close to them, are something that definitely needs to be avoided.
Track your progress
Another important factor in getting into a healthy habit is that you keep track of your progress. OK, so you might have decided that you want to lose weight and eat at least two portions of fruits and vegetables with every meal. But you’ve had chips and pasta at dinner for the last two days. So you decide you are failing and just give up.
But, if you had been tracking your habits, then you would have remembered that you had your two portions for three out of five dinners, and at every breakfast and lunch. So you weren’t really failing at all! It was just a bit of a blip, and these are definitely to be expected when trying to establish a new habit.
The point is that by tracking your positive habits you can see your own success, which is very motivating. It can also show you where you need to adjust things or work a bit harder which is constructive for keeping to your new habit in the long run. You can even track your habits on your mobile device by using an app like this.
Remind yourself why you are doing it
Another important aspect of establishing a positive and healthy new habit is to remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. Never underestimate the power of motivation. Your mind is the strongest tool you have, and if you are motivated enough you will definitely be able to reach your goal.
To help you stay motivated, it is important to stay positive. To do this, you can imagine yourself when you have established your new habit, happy and feeling better. Or you can use images or items of clothing to remind you why you want to lose weight. You can even use your kids’ drawings as a reminder as to why you are getting fit because you want to be the best parent to them that you can be.
Make it easy on yourself
Another piece of the healthy habit forming puzzle is to give yourself permission to make things as easy as possible. So many people fail at forming positive habits because they make things way harder than they actually need to be.
For example, if you are looking to exercise more, don’t pick an activity you hate and don’t force yourself to go to the gym if you think it’s boring and you hate being on the show. Instead, research and buy some pieces of exercise equipment that you can use in our own home. You can look at pages like this rowing machine review to get you started.
Remember that there are reviews out there for most types of home exercise equipment you can buy. So make sure you do your research before parting with your money. As getting a good deal on having workout tools in your own home, can make it a lot easy to get into the habit of exercising.
Make a pact
If motivation is something that you are really struggling with another great tip in establishing a positive habit is to make a pact with someone else. This can help in all sorts of ways.
Firstly you are actually accountable to someone other than yourself, so if you’re not keeping up with you habit you will have to explain why.
Secondly having someone else around you for moral support, that is on the same journey, can be so helpful. Not only are they there to celebrate your successes but they are also able to commiserate with you when things get hard too.
Lastly, one of the key aspects of getting into a positive health habit is acknowledging your successes and rewarding yourself for these. While it’s easy to see how well everyone else is doing, some people really struggle with giving themselves the credit that they deserve.
This can hold you back from achieving your goal of getting into a good habit because everyone needs a little positive reinforcement from time to time. So to remedy this why not write out a chart with associated rewards on. Then whenever you hit a significant step on the way to achieving your positive habit, you can treat yourself.
The rewards don’t need to be massive. They can just be little things like a night out, a book you have had your eye on, or a small item of clothing.
A word of warning, though, try to ensure that your rewards actually match up with the habit that you are trying to create. For example, if you are trying to develop the habit of healthy eating, by cutting out fried food and sugar. Don’t then reward you with a candy bar, donut or a takeaway.