Are Healthy Habits Important?
Yes, they are critical!
In my experience, increasing your healthy habits is the only way to make a fit and active lifestyle something that lasts forever versus just a short term thing.
What Exactly is a Habit?
A habit is a frequently performed behaviour that’s often done without conscious thought. We all complete a ton of habits before we even leave the house in the morning. You can probably brush your teeth, shower, dress, make coffee and prepare breakfast on autopilot. In fact, studies show that most of what we do in a day is driven by habits lead by subconscious thoughts.
Habits are critical to daily functioning. If we actually had to put real thought into each and every action we perform, we’d be exhausted before even leaving the house in the morning. Habits allow us to save our mind time for new, complex problems that need solving.
What I want to focus on here, is getting you to increase the healthy habits in your life. I want you to build the automatic healthy behaviours you perform daily so that exercising and eating right become things you do on autopilot.
How Can You Change Your Habits?
1. Refresh and Revisit your Healthy Habits Often.
Bring your healthy habits into you conscious mind for a minute by writing them all down. Once a month review the list and ensure you are keeping up with everything on it. Ensure all habits still make sense with your life as it is right now.
Recognize that life changes happen; what made sense a few months ago, may not be a priority to you at this current moment. This is okay. What’s important, is to be as healthy as you possibly can be given your current life stage. Don’t ever hit the ‘pause’ button completely on a healthy lifestyle, just dial your healthy habits up or down if needed. As an example, during really busy times at work you may only get three workouts in during a week versus the four workouts you can fit in during slower periods. This is okay, just make sure you’re focused and giving it your full effort during those three workouts!
2. Keep it Simple.
When you review your healthy habits list, you will often find a couple of things you want to improve. Try changing only one habit at a time.
For example, if you haven’t been to the gym in a year, don’t think that you’ll automatically start going five times a week for an hour. This ‘All or Nothing’ type of thinking will only set you up for disappointment and often, failure. Start off by exercising for 20 minutes three times a week instead, and once you’re successful with this, build your workout time up.
When it comes to eating, something that has worked for myself and many of my personal training clients, is to start by making one meal or snack a day healthier. Put all of your effort towards making this one meal or snack, healthier each and every day. Your actions should feel automatic, before moving on to the next goal.
3. Stay Accountable.
Accountability makes you more committed to your goal. Build a fitness schedule into your weekly agenda and commit yourself to the workouts as if they’re doctor appointments. Write out your menu for the week and stock your fridge with the healthy ingredients. Post a picture of your healthy dinners on social media for positive reinforcement. Stick to the plan.
If it’s too challenging to hold yourself accountable, find a family member, friend or co-worker to help you stay on track. Ensure that they ask to see your weekly food and exercise logs. If this person is also trying to get healthier, offer to hold them accountable to their goals. This peer enforcement will go a long way. Another alternative is to reach out to a healthy lifestyle coach for professional assistance.
To Sum it Up…
Habits are very powerful, and necessary things. They are driven by the subconscious mind, and become automatic largely because of the number of times they are performed. Make your healthy lifestyle habits more automatic by first recognizing and writing down your habits, focusing on one thing at a time, and staying accountable to your plan.
I’d love to hear about the success you have in developing your healthy habits below.