Why is it that bad habits always seem so much easier to keep? If only it were as easy to run a mile as it was to eat an extra cookie or splurge on an expensive purchase.
Healthy habits are more difficult to create and sustain, but not impossible. With a little bit of focus and dedication, you can be well on your way to achieving your goals and setting yourself up for a healthier lifestyle.
What is a Healthy Habit?
The first step toward developing a healthy habit is understanding what separates healthy behavior from its unhealthy counterpart. Things like smoking and drinking too much naturally rise to the top of the list, but behaviors like sitting for too long, or spending too much time staring at a computer screen are less obvious.
Spend an entire day or week writing down everything you do, then reflect on what needs to be improved. Once you’ve separated the good from the bad, you can start coming up with a plan of attack to create new, healthy habits.
Make a Game Plan
The most sure-fire way to make sure you stay on track is to do things early. That could mean working out first thing in the morning (when there’s less likely to be other demands on your time) or preparing dinner for the week on Sunday so you are not tempted to hit the drive-thru on your way home from work.
Use a journal or planner to keep track of your progress and your goals. Take some time each weekend to plan out the week ahead and write reminders to reinforce your healthy habits that you’ll see every time you look at your planner.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have identified your changes, planned for them in your life, and turned your triggers around, the only thing left to do is practice, practice, practice. The more you do something, the more it will sink in.
Rewarding yourself for a job well done is important, too — just make sure your reward doesn’t set you back from the progress you’ve made. You might think you’re doing a good thing by depriving yourself for long periods of time, but going too long without a reward can lead to backsliding down the road.
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