Tips for Making New Healthy Habits

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Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, Web MD posted an article called “How to Make and Keep New Habits.”

These are not strikingly new ideas, but good reminders. Here’s my take on them:

1. Share your goals and your plan of action with someone. If your goal is exercise related, find a workout buddy. See if there’s a support group related to your healthy goal. Sharing your ideas makes it less scary and one step closer to reality, and having moral support helps keep us on track.

2. Quit one bad habit at a time. You might feel really motivated, but trying to “fix” several things at once can be overwhelming and set us up for failure. It takes time and energy to replace a bad habit with a good one, and to get used to doing it until it becomes second nature to us.

3. Let go of perfectionism—expect to slip up now and again. Everyone has setbacks! It does NOT mean we’re failures. We must forgive ourselves for being human, learn from our mistakes, get right back on the wagon, and keep moving forward.

4. Reward yourself along the way. This can actually help motivate us and make the journey fun! Just don’t reward yourself with food! Or with whatever your bad habit was. Go for experiences instead—such as a spa day, an outing like a movie (or going to a new farmers’ market!) with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or time in your favorite park.

5. Be flexible with your timetable. There’s no hard and fast rule about it taking three weeks to create a new habit. It might take longer, and that’s OK! We’ll get there.

6. State your goals in positive ways. Rather than say, “I’m gonna have to give up french fries and desserts,” (sounds like deprivation), try saying, “I’ll choose nutritious foods instead of empty calories, to support my health.” It might sound inconsequential, but it does make a difference!

7. Start small. If you can implement your new habit for just one day a week, it will give you confidence and help you increase the challenge incrementally until you reach your goal.

It’s always better to break tasks into manageable chunks. It can sound daunting to say, “I need to lose 50 pounds.” But could we shoot for losing a healthy 1/2 – 1 pound per week for 2 months? And then reassess and see about losing a few more?

I love a meme that popped up in my Facebook feed: “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.”

And then take the next one, and then the next. At least half of the people who make New Year’s resolutions have abandoned them six months later. If this is your year to make a change, make it! And don’t quit. You can do it!! I believe in you.

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Category : Blog &Health Posted on January 4, 2017

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