There are so many ways we have created habits throughout our life - both good and bad.
We develop habits from a young age by watching people around us, positive and negative reinforcement, and even our internal and external environment. We carry these habits through adulthood and fall into routines that can be incredibly challenging to break out of. Not all habits are bad but some may be less desirable than others. It's always a good reminder to be gentle with yourself and realize you have had years to create these habits so it may be years to create new ones. Let's talk about different ways we can create healthy lifelong habits that will continue to benefit us in our everyday life.
Choosing just a couple small goals can really impact your habits in a positive way.
The key is keeping them SIMPLE! Some examples include:
These all may seem like simple things to do but holding yourself accountable and staying consistent with these goals can make you realize how challenging it really is to change your habits.
Start small and work towards getting just 1% better every day.
By being more consistent with more positive habits, the more likely you will be to self correct the negative ones over time. An example of this would be if you are more consistent with eating healthy snacks throughout the day you will have less cravings in the evening to binge on less nutritious foods.
Habit Stacking is another great way to start adding new habits into your life. This is taking those small goals we just talked about and adding them to a habit you already have. For example, I drink a glass of water every morning while making my coffee. I always make coffee no matter what so to help me stay up on my water intake I add a glass of water to that habit to help me remember.
Another example is setting reminders to take action during a regular event, such as a bathroom break mid-morning at work can also help you implement a new habit. When you get up to use the bathroom also grab. your snack from the break room, and eat it once you get back to your desk so that you don't lose track of time and forget to fit in your morning snack. Building upon habits can make it easier to stick to them.
Practicing mindfulness will always be beneficial in helping you stay accountable to your goals. This involves taking time to reflect upon WHY you have set the goals that you have, and why these goals are important to you.
Practicing mindfulness can lead to preparedness and help you combat obstacles that may get in your way. This could be meal prepping, planning out the times you are going to eat, running errands on a specific day to help you stay on track to not get take out. Checking in with yourself is a great way to hold yourself accountable to your actions.
With mindfulness comes boundaries. When we are trying to create new habits this also may affect those around us and we may have to set boundaries to help reach our goals.
For example, if you are trying to go to bed earlier but you have a friend that always wants to stay up and chat then this doesn’t align with your goals. Reaching out to that friend and sharing your goals with them will help you succeed by acknowledging what help you need from others. This can greatly benefit you and your friendship as well by inviting them in to provide the support that you need.
Setting boundaries with yourself and those around you can help you stay on track and reach your goals.
It is also important to set boundaries for yourself. For me I have a boundary of not allowing myself to buy chips. No matter how much I try to portion them out or reduce my intake I know I can not resist sitting on the couch and eating the whole bag. For this reason I don't allow myself to fail by keeping them out of my house. This also doesn't mean that I don't ever eat chips but I will have them only on occasion like in the summer with an ham Italian, or maybe with a burger when I go out to eat. I don't deprive myself of something that I enjoy, but I make the responsible decision to not make temptations I know I will cave to. This can be extremely hard to do but may be necessary depending on your health goals.
Life has ebbs and flows and there may be a time where you might fall off your goals and life throws you every challenge it can.
What is important is that you continue to be mindful, make time for yourself to plan, and work towards becoming 1% better every day.
Small consistent habits are going to lead you to the life you want to live. Consistency is key when it comes to making changes in your life whatever it may be. Finding ways that help you reach your goals will help you fall into routine faster and help stay on track.
We shouldn’t feel like we are being punished in order to become our healthiest selves. Making commitments to yourself that you can keep will lead to a fulfilling successful life.
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Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.