Few of us can fundamentally change the world, but man always has the power to change himself !
A habit is something you do regularly in your routine, it is something we repeatedly do daily, it is engrained in us, to the point that our unconscious mind just knows. Making a habit stick does not come naturally. Habits are learned behaviours. Turning something into a habit, does not happen overnight, it takes time, it is something you must do day in and day out consistently. As they say ‘We Are What We Do Repeatedly’
How quickly we establish a habit such as eating well, depends on the person, the circumstances, the environment and our mindset. It may directly be influenced by how quickly we recognise why we are trying to make this good habit by being able to see the reward that comes with it such as ‘When I eat well, I will have more energy, have less pain, be able to maintain a healthy weight and see an improvement in my overall health’. The end result, the reward that comes with making the change is what creates satisfaction.
Without craving a change, without having the motivation or desire to make a change, we have no reason to act in making a change.
As the saying goes ‘Your desire to change must be larger than your desire to stay the same’
Tips For Creating Healthy Habits That Stick:
Being able to identify the not so healthy habit and why you need to change it. When you can identify your reason to make a change, it makes making a change a lot easier. When trying to break unhealthy habits, its important that an unhealthy habit is replaced with working towards a good habit.
Being able to identify the cue- the signal that triggers the action or habit. It may be a feeling or it may be a time of the day. The feeling may be tired, lacking energy and the time of the day may be late afternoon where you feel the slump in your energy, so the action you may take is drinking a coffee.
Do not use food as a reward. If you are focusing on rewarding yourself with a big piece of chocolate cake at the end for reaching your goal, your healthy changes are less likely to stick. Rather than using food as a reward, why not reward yourself with a new bikini for achieving your goal weight/new healthy lifestyle changes or reward yourself with a new cook book or good quality frying pan to encourage staying on top of your new healthy habits.
Changing your beliefs and thought patterns from ‘I am not sure if I can do that’ to ‘I can do that’ Having a positive mindset and having belief in yourself makes all the difference when working towards your goals. If you stuff up once, know that, that does not mean that you might as well give up. It takes a number of times doing something repetitively before it becomes routine.
Focus on building simple healthy lifestyle changes that are sustainable and not drastic behaviour changes. Start small, and set the bar low. Small changes are more sustainable. Take baby steps, small changes are better than no changes.
When creating healthy habits, focus on something small. If your goal is to eat more healthier, break it down into small habits that can be implemented to reach the end goal of eating more healthier. An example might be: Every Sunday morning I am going to spend two hours in the kitchen doing some healthy meal prep for the week so I don’t get caught out on a busy week night, not having anything prepared which is likely to lead to making poor food choices.
Our environment shapes our eating habits. Some tips relating to your environment, to help create Healthy Eating habits are:
Fill your pantry and fridge with a variety of healthy food options and keep unhealthy food out of sight. When something unhealthy is not sitting there in front of you, you don’t tend to crave it.
Always keep your kitchen stocked with healthy options so there is no reason to go out and opt for an unhealthy takeaway option, because there is nothing in your house to eat.
Get organised- if you know you are going to have a busy week ahead and there is the high likelihood that you will not feel like cooking when you get home from work, have healthy meals or snacks prepped in advance.
Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you in creating healthy habits, not put peer pressure on you to do something that does not support your health goals.
Success is about a few simple disciplines, practiced everyday. Do not make a goal that is too large or too big to stay consistent and sustain. Its better to start small. A little bit of progress is better than no progress at all!
Making a plan ahead of time of how you will tackle temptations that may come up. An example of this may be: If you are heading out to a party where you know that there may be unhealthy food temptations, choose to eat a decent meal before you go so that you are feeling full. By going to a party on an empty stomach, you are much more likely to give into temptation.
You know you have succeeded in creating a new healthy eating habit, when ‘I can’t have that’ turns to ‘I don’t want that or I don’t eat that.’ Your mindset and how you phrase things influences your behaviour. Having the mindset and thought pattern of ‘I can’t have that’ when something is placed in front of you, relates to forcing yourself into doing something you don’t actually really want to do. ‘I can’t’ relates to feelings of restriction.
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Here’s to good health and happiness