While humans are naturally creatures of habit, implementing behavioral changes is a lifelong challenge. Living intentionally can be a powerful step towards personal growth. While a goal may define a path, systems serve as the road map towards achievement. When trying to incorporate new healthy habits into your lifestyle, consider the following:
- Give yourself a cue and make it obvious.
If your goal is to exercise for 30 minutes every day after work, lay out your exercise clothes and workout shoes by your door so that they are the first thing you see when you come home. This will give you a reminder to get moving.
- Develop your “gateway habit.”
Pace yourself and start simple. Too many changes at once are difficult to sustain. If you would like to start eating healthier, recipe planning for every meal may be an unrealistic place to start. You could instead begin by adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast and lunch. Increase the challenge every few weeks and focus on long term behaviors.
- Play off your existing habits through “habit stacking.”
New habits are easier to incorporate if they are tied with old habits. If you have a goal to walk more, consider your current routine. If you have a habit of checking the mail every afternoon, try walking to the mailbox rather than driving by.
- Consistency is key. Stick to it!
It’s not always the size of the habit, but how often it’s repeated that makes it effective. Researchers from University College in London determined that on average, it takes 66 days for a new habit to stick. By increasing the frequency of repetition, the human brain forms new connections to make once novel habits more automatic.
If you have further questions about how to prioritize health in your life, feel free to reach out to the Physical Therapy team at Warm Springs Holistic Health for guidance.