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.