Friday, April 22, 2016

Tips For Developing Better Habits by Roz Denny Fox


Since my last blog was advice on keeping our brains healthy and we all found some areas that we needed to improve, I thought this time I’d see if there are ways we can help ourselves form better exercise, food, or sleep habits. Many people make resolutions in January and by March they go by the wayside.

So I found 9 tips for developing better habits.                                             

1.    Get Motivated

Ask why you want to adopt a certain habit. Will your life improve if you develop it? And what will happen if you say “forget it”? Sorting through these questions will help streamline your goal and maintain motivation when you flag. If you work better visually, write down the answers and post them where you read them daily.

2.    Start Small

Lasting habits take time to develop. Don’t get discouraged. Start by setting small goals. Focus on manageable changes at the beginning of any transformation. If you do that your habits will more likely become automatic.

3.    Set Reminders

When you want to adopt a new habit it’s easy to fall off track. Consistency is the key to success. That’s why posting your goals where you readily see them is important.

4.    Replace a bad habit

It’s easier to exchange a bad habit with a good habit than it is to just kick a bad habit out of your life. For instance, if you want to quit eating sugary snacks, make good snacks more available. If granola or carrot sticks are at hand, you won’t get up from your computer and go find candy or cookies.

5.    Get Others on Board

If you need to dump a bad habit and set a better one, the more people you tell what you are trying to achieve, the more accountable you’ll be. A side benefit may be that friends or co-workers will decide to join you in setting a new, better goal for themselves.

6.    Have realistic expectations

We all know that change doesn’t happen overnight, but whenever we set new goals it’s easy to want instant gratification, or instant change. The truth is achieving results only comes when you create consistency.

7.    Mark your calendar and do the good or new habit for 30 days.

Studies show it takes 30 days to form a habit, so if you stay committed to the good habit that long it’s more likely to become automatic. If you find yourself backsliding, set another 30 days.

8.    Only take on one new habit or habit change at a time.

Although you may take stock of your life and think you need a whole-life overhaul, attempting to make too many changes at once may quickly sabotage all of your efforts. Center your mind and effort on one good habit at a time. Only after it feels routine, then go to a new change.

9.    Reward yourself for a job well-done

Small rewards help keep you motivated, especially on days when it’s hard to stay on track. It helps if you make a list of rewards ahead of time so you have something to look forward to. But be sure the reward isn’t something that dips back into the habit you’re trying to change. i.e. if you are trying to quit eating sugary snacks, your reward can’t be a candy treat. Make it a rose you buy and put in a budvase where you can enjoy it. Or meet a friend for a healthy break.

There are always roadblocks, but instead of giving up remind yourself why you wanted to make the change, Maybe keeping inspirational quotes at hand will reignite your fire. Say you’ve missed days due to illness or travel, don’t let that derail you. Take up the good habit again as soon as you’re able. And lastly, silence negative thoughts. An inner critic, and I know we all have one, can be the biggest detractor. Accentuate the positive. Read inspiring books, listen to upbeat music, and most of all seek out encouraging people--friends like we’ve made in this Heartwarming group with our helpful blogs. You all have inspired me to be a better me. I hope my blogs help you.

31 comments:

  1. I think Number 6 was written for me, Roz. Whenever I go on a diet or get back in the gym--which I did this week--I want all the numbers to change NOW, and it just doesn't work that way. Thanks for sharing the list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so the same way. Instant gratification if I'm doing something difficult like dieting. I want the pounds to melt off.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful, helpful advice, Roz! I like to THINK I'm oober-organized and in charge of my schedule (and myself!), but as you pointed out, event the best-intended plans and resolutions are susceptible to falling into Forget-it-ville. This is a great reminder to reevaluate and realign priorities, so thanks! Hope your weekend will be wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loree, it's a shame that so many things pop up to sideline our good intentions, too.

      Delete
  4. Roz, these are all great. My New Years Resolution to get my house more organized started out with a bang. It began fizzling in March when I had a book deadline. I'm not giving up! I'm going to shoot for 15 minutes a day devoted to "home organization." I especially like your final advice about surrounding yourself with positive thoughts and people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I think this group is so good for keeping us on track, especially with writing. Dust bunnies under the bed---not so much. LOL

      Delete
    2. Carol, me too! You should see my office right now. I'm cleaning out files. Ugh, what a mess. And that's just the start of this year's resolution to declutter the whole house.

      Delete
  5. Great tips, Roz! I think that remembering to take it in small chunks and not try to tackle the biggest project first is a great reminder. Start small and build on the success of meeting that objective. I also find that 15 minutes is a great starting point. It's amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy, do you find that you're more productive when you're busiest? Sometimes I think I didn't use to procrastinate, but now when I should have more time, it's easier to put stuff off.

      Delete
  6. Roz, you're so good at finding subjects that enlighten and inspire up. This is so sane. I have so much work to do in so many areas. I'm going to post this everywhere - however - if all I had at my computer was carrot sticks, I WOULD get up from my computer to find chocolate. Just saying.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I guess inspired 'up' is one of those terms that makes the point even though it's wrong. That was supposed to be inspire 'us.' Maybe fifteen minutes a day spent on editing . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muriel, So funny. When I sent out my blog notice, I realize I had a subject line that didn't match my blog at all, but was in response to something a friend sent me. I blamed it on getting up too early and for not walking and clearing my head prior to getting on the computer. Yes, good idea on post-it notes.

      Delete
  8. You’re always helpful, Roz. I find it takes me two weeks to establish a change. More than forty years ago, I decided to stop using sugar in my tea. By the time those two weeks were gone, I couldn’t tolerate the taste of sugar anymore. However, it took months before I stopped reaching for it and on several occasions I had to throw the tea out because my old habit had me adding the sugar without thinking. Excellent blog. (And thanks Muriel. You always make me laugh.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marion, that habit of reaching for something is so true. When Denny needed to give up salt because of diabetes, I went through the same thing. It was so normal to pre-salt water for cooking veggies, etc. Now if something has too much salt it doesn't taste good to me.

      Delete
  9. This is a great list, Roz. It took some time for me to learn #2, but once I did, I accomplished so much more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still working on that Jill. I so expect any change I want to take place ASAP, even when I know it takes times.

      Delete
  10. Good ideas and sound advice. Thank you.

    I am trying to exercise daily, but I get so involved in writing, editing, doing the laundry that I forget. So I have set an alarm to go off every morning to remind me. So far it's working, but it has only been 3 days...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose, my kids all have Fitbits. It tells them to get up and move, and logs the amount of steps they take. It's something I tell myself I should buy for me, but so far I haven't done that either. LOL

      Delete
  11. Thank you for another very helpful post, Roz! Three of the points touch on something I believe in firmly in whatever I do: build on incremental successes. Setting realistic but challenging goals that are attainable, and not spreading oneself too thin by trying to do too many things at once leads to success (and positive reinforcement), in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great advice, Roz. I especially like #4, because I have so many bad habits to replace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw---I don't happen to think you do. However, we can all use some kick in the behind to jump start change once in a while.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for this wonderful list of tips for developing better habits. When I view it this way it seems far less challenging and more attainable. ( :

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laurie, I'm happy if it helps.

      Delete
  14. Your advice to just do one thing at a time really hit home with me. I have a bad habit--I guess I should start with this!--of making big lists, trying to do all of it, and then not doing any of it. HAHA!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shannon, I really think that is a sticking point for so many of us. We want grand, sweeping changes.

      Delete
  15. Roz, my thought for the day: I am willing to change. I like the idea of one thing at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, you have taken on a lot of life changes and you're doing great at all of them.

      Delete
  16. I'm saving your excellent list, Roz. I need it. Am trying to keep an exercise program going because that does help so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh, I truly think exercise for even 15 or so minutes a day helps keep all of our body parts functioning better, longer. At least I hope so.

      Delete
  17. Roz, I love your #8 -- never thought of that before, and now I'm definitely going to try that!

    Laurie, who tends to take on way too many projects at once :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Laurie, I think raising your hand too often is typical of a lot of busy women. We can't tell people no, especially when it's something we like, or for a good cause. But getting overloaded is hard on a person. On the other hand---I want you to keep doing all you do for everyone.

    ReplyDelete