There are so many different ways to change lifestyles to a healthier one, that trying to do everything at once can be daunting. It’s much easier to develop one new healthy habit or maybe two, at once, then move on the next one. For instance, choose the one that’s the hardest for you to do, such as eating healthier or working out. Then move on to the next.
Trade a bad habit for a good one.
Some people find that quitting smoking is easier when they build the habit of exercise at the same time. There’s a good reason for it. Exercise can help relieve stress and quitting smoking can create a lot of stress. The two work well together. Short periods of physical activity help eliminate the urge to smoke during the exercise and for up to 50 minutes after it’s finished. You’ll strengthen your lungs and heart at the same time. It helps burn calories at a time when weight gain often occurs and improves your mood to keep you on track.
It takes anywhere from 21 days to 6 months to develop a habit, but most of the time sixty-six days will have you doing it automatically.
Do you have to wait two months to start the next new habit? Absolutely not. Two to three weeks to get into the groove of the first new healthy habit is enough. If you started with exercise, it’s time to add healthy eating to your new healthy goals. That can start slowly, like cutting out sugar first until you no longer crave it. Next eliminate processed food from your diet. You can build on those two things until you automatically choose healthier options when you eat.
Identify the new behavior or habit you want and create a goal to help you achieve it.
Maybe you find you don’t drink enough water. That might sound silly, but dehydration can cause health issues. Find ways to include more water in your diet. Instead of grabbing a soft drink or cup of coffee on a break, make it a point to drink a bottle of water. Carry water with you at all times at first and sip on it at least once or twice an hour. Track your progress. While drinking more water is the example, this works for all new habits.
- Stay vigilant, particularly when you first begin the change. Put the new habit you want to develop on your schedule. Create an alarm with your cell phone to remind you. Track your successful completion each time you do the new habit.
- Don’t worry if you mess up at first, just get back on track as though you didn’t miss a day. Habits take time to develop, so give yourself that time.
- Make sure you get adequate sleep while you’re developing the new habit. Lack of sleep can ruin your resolve and make sticking with your program harder. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, you might want to start there.
- Remember every step you take to live healthier is a step in the right direction. It took you years to form bad habits, but changing them doesn’t have to take years. However, it won’t happen overnight. Just keep your focus and stick with it.