We all know how good habits are important for a healthy lifestyle but how can we pick up and develop these habits? While building a new habit is difficult, choosing and sticking to them are more difficult than it sounds. I mean I didn’t like it a bit when I started jogging in the morning but it slowly became a vital part of my routine and now I can’t honestly separate it from my daily lifestyle. I made a healthy choice and I stuck to it. And now I’m going to tell you how you can select good habits for life and how to develop them.
Choosing the Right Habit
You’ve just let go of a habit and there’s a slot available for you to put a new one. Or you just want a new habit to bring in a change in your lifestyle. But how can you choose good habits?
1. Choose an Easy Habit
You can get a lot of options for good habits for healthy life but you have cut down on the hard ones. The first rule of choosing a new habit is how you’re going to hold up to it. So, choosing a habit that’s easy to maintain is the way to go. Only select the habit that’s realistic even if it means adding a small habit like brushing your teeth at night. Easy habit refers to something you can perform easily on a daily/regular basis. These are some healthy habits to start:
- Developing a balanced diet
- Rising early
- Limiting screen time
- Quitting smoking
After you’ve selected a habit that’s easy for you, you have to perform the activities demanded from the habit. Start with easy and small like doing some easy but effective free hand exercise at home, and build up a routine. Slowly, you will start seeing the big picture and you can perform accordingly.
2. Look out for Opportunities
While you’re looking through your options for good habits, look out for opportunities it would provide in the long term. For example: if you want to start taking immune boosting herbs or herbal supplements, map out the benefits or problems of yours that you want to achieve or get rid of respectively in the next 3 months. This will not only help you choose a productive habit for yourself but you will also get encouraged looking at the long-term effect you’re going to get out of the habit.
3. Introspect Yourself
This must be the most crucial task while choosing a new habit. You have to ask yourself if you’re prepared for a new habit. Also, choose the habit that you know you’re going to like by going through a healthy lifestyle habits list. For example: if you’re an introvert person, you’re probably not going to feel comfortable working out in front of people in the gym. Again, are you ready to maintain the routine that going to a gym requires? Are you going to feel more comfortable if you have gym equipment at your home or are you more of a yoga person? Yes, you have to ask yourselves questions of this type to know exactly which habit will suit you best and how you’re going to execute it.
How to Develop Good Habits
1. Set a Goal
Although there are many good habits to have, choose a goal before you select a habit for you. Before you completely engage in a new habit, find out what you need to accomplish in your life right now and how your new habit is going to help you achieve that.
- Set a specific goal and not a vague one
- Measure the goal in terms of numbers
- Figure out the activities required for reaching the goal and set a routine for those activities
- Make sure you have the resources required to achieve the goal and you’re willing to bring in modifications to the resources as per the demand of your new habit
- You can select the starting and the ending time frame of the goal. You can set the rest of the map towards your goal this way. This choice is optional. If you’re not willing to do something with a deadline, that’s perfectly fine. In that case, focus on bringing in improvements on a weekly or monthly basis
2. Choose the Habit
After you’ve set a goal, identify the most suitable habit to take you towards that goal. Out of the different good lifestyle habits, select a goal that will bring in the results faster than other activities. For example, you want to lose weight. Now you have two choices: dieting and exercising. But you know that simple dieting takes quite a toll on the body and it’s not as productive as exercising. So, choose an exercise routine and make a plan on slowly expanding it.
When you’re planning on taking on new healthy habits of life, what are your motivations for doing it? Are the motivations strong enough for you to stick to the habit? Write down the motivation, so you can take a look at it whenever you’re in doubt about your new habit.
3. Aim Small but Dream Big
So, you’ve already set a goal. Now, it’s time to divide it into mini-targets and daily quotas. This way, you’ll feel a little accomplishment each day and the distance to the final goal to shorten. Plan out these mini-goals based on the main goal and nothing else. Now, imagine a ladder on top of which the final goal lies. The ladder is without any rung and each of these mini-goals will add a new rung on the ladder towards your final goal. While developing healthy eating habits, you might have to let go of your favorite foods like pizza or burger one by one.
4. Celebrate the Little Gains
We often beat ourselves up for falling short on something but we hardly reward ourselves for doing a good job. Celebrating the little stuff helps one with motivation and encouragement. So, when you’ve added a new rung to that ladder, feel free to treat thyself. It doesn’t have to be anything grand but something very small. You can treat yourself with an ice cream after you’ve gone through a strenuous exercise routine for the last month. If you’re developing healthy food habits, you need to add a “cheat day” every once in a while to keep motivated.
5. Be around People who Support You
Surround yourself with people who support you. This has a great impact on your behavior and lifestyle. If you are around people who constantly discourage you on whatever you do or who generally add a negative vibe to your life, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. But if you have friends and family who encourage you on your journey towards your goal, you will easily adjust your habit to your lifestyle.
Also, don’t be around people who might slow down your progress on reaching your goal. If you’ve set a goal to lose weight and added exercise to your daily routine, you still wouldn’t be able to lose weight if your friends are obese. No matter how harsh it sounds but you might need to avoid seeing them for a couple of months until you’ve lost a significant amount of weight.
6. Consider the Obstacles
While you’re developing a new habit, be sure that you’ll be facing lots of obstacles. We’re all constructed with both good and bad habits. If you accept this as you start on the new habit, you can focus your energy on the development rather than the obstacles. An obstacle in the journey towards your goal should only empower you more and not discourage you in any way.
If you fail to exercise for a day, don’t feel bad about yourself but think it as part of the routine. There will be lots of distractions and let the distractions be a part of your journey. You can develop a “don’t miss twice” mindset, so you don’t miss out on your new habit for two consecutive days.
7. Make an “If…then” Routine
If you really want to reach your goal through your new habit, you need to get committed to it. When you’re incorporating good habits of healthy lifestyle into your life, you can add them directly next to an existing habit like a conditional. It’s proven that you can be more successful if you know exactly how, when and where your activity is going to take place. You can do this by making an “if…then” routine.
For example, you can develop a routine that goes like “If I finish my afternoon snack, then I will run more 2 miles”. You can, similarly, develop an “after/before” routine. For example, you can build up a routine that goes like “I will walk for half an hour after I’ve finished my office for the day”. If you set up mini-goals like this, you’ll feel accomplished each time you finish performing them.
8. Develop Your Environment
We’re all shaped by our environment. If you want to build up good health habits, you have to slowly let go of the junk foods. Just imagine you have a can of Pringles in your kitchen. You’re going to eat it even if you don’t want to, just because it’s there. So, design your house and workplace in a way that will encourage you on your new habit.
If you want to build up a habit of reading books, always keep a book by your bed. In this way, you don’t have to get up, go to another room and fetch the book for reading. This will not only increase the probability of reading the book but you’ll save on a lot of energy that you can later invest in your book reading. Similarly, you can put your remote away from your room if you want to get out of your TV addiction.
Developing healthy living habits can be hard. You have to make room for it, engage in it on a regular basis even if you don’t like it and then you can finally get used to it. We’ve planned a strategic way to build up good habits, so you can develop them in a pre-planned structure. Once you’ve got a hang of your new habit, try letting go of the bad habits.