How to Create Health Habits

Most people want to build a happy and healthy life for themselves but find the occasional “bad” habit gets in the way. You intend to make changes but at some point you procrastinate.

It is common to feel overwhelmed, unmotivated, or simply find a task unpleasant. You may begin with the best of intentions and get distracted.

You may want to improve mental or physical health, get more sleep or exercise, change how you relate to others, or perhaps take more time for “inner” work and spirituality.

Although sometimes it is not easy to create a new habit, with commitment you can succeed.

You may decide, for instance, that you wish to eat in a healthier way. Your commitment to that goal must be taken seriously. To improve your chances of success, your reasons for making a change should override the routine of eating poorly. In other words, the joy of small successes in the process are more powerful than the comfort of your old routine.

There are ways to increase your success in internalizing a new habit.

Create a plan for success. Decide each step of the process, how you will reward yourself for success, and how you will re-assess if you slip. Remember that the new way of being is to support a long-term goal such as better health, more satisfying relationships, or improved mood. The habit or habits are the steps to support that goal.

Use a calendar and/or notes with positive affirmations, reminders, and success steps. Be sure to place the calendar or notes somewhere where you will be sure to see them or place reminders of your affirmations on your phone.

Create a system of rewards for yourself. You may wish to take a five-minute walk, dance or sing, read -some small pleasurable activity to encourage yourself to continue.

Note your successes each day and feel gratitude for the achievement.

Ask loved ones for support.

If you slip up and miss a step toward your goal, don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge the slip and reaffirm the goal. Be compassionate with yourself and focus on the successes, not the temporary slip!

Set firm boundaries for yourself and respect yourself enough to honor them. Ignore the temptation to break your self-promise.

Do everything you can to make the road easier to navigate. If you are changing your eating habits, for instance, you could take a half day weekly to prepare healthy meals and create an ideal grocery list.

Remember it usually takes a minimum of 30 days for a habit to become ingrained. Be patient and kind with yourself!

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