Creating Healthy Habits and Sticking to Them

May 29, 2019Mandi Morrison

In order to prolong their life and to increase its quality, people often resort to healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, regularly exercising, quitting smoking and alcohol, etc. Frankly, the selection of activities most people choose is actually arbitrary, which means that over time they realize that they have little to no effect and that’s why they abandon them. The key to leading a healthy lifestyle is not only adopting new habits, but sticking to them long enough so they can take effect. By doing so, we are making a huge step towards improving the quality of our lives and increasing the overall level of happiness. The hardest step in creating these healthy habits is making the choice which habits to adopt and fully understanding the impact they have on our physical and mental health.

Reward yourself for each new step

Whether it is exercising or finishing your grad studies, the road to the top is going to be comprised of several stages. Think of each stage as a small victory and try to reward yourself with that an appropriate gift after each successfully completed phase. By rewarding yourself, even with fictional prizes, you are actually stimulating your feelings of achievement and pride, which can result in better motivation and preparation for the upcoming challenges.

Stay physically active

Speaking of stages, the activity that will be full of hard days that you will have to get through is exercising. Staying physically active is more demanding than it might first sound but if you stick to the schedule you initially made, then the goal of achieving physical strength is perhaps closer than you might think. Latins used to say that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, so physical activity is actually a prerequisite for the equilibrium of the mind. Jogging, taking up a sport, and working out all help you focus better and set your sights on bigger goals.

Patience will get you far

Achieving realistic goals is an integral part of every healthy habit but the problem occurs when people set unrealistic goals and lose patience midway. Depression and anxiety easily set in if you start believing that you won’t meet a goal, such as a work deadline. However, the real reason behind your fear of failure is the failure to be patient all the way. Basically, patience is the keyword for sticking to good habits until the moment you start reaping benefits from them. The key to adopting healthy habits is being patient when practising them and not expecting to see immediate results.

Sleeping on the job

You must never let yourself become dormant about the goals you have set but that doesn’t mean that you cannot sleep on the job. In fact, if you have made adopting a healthier lifestyle your job, then getting enough sleep is essential. In fact, adhering to the six to eight hours of sleep per day is one of the main healthy habits that you should adopt.

Admittedly, getting plenty of sleep is hard in this world where we are stretched between working long hours and partying hard over the weekend but the importance of enough sleep cannot be accentuated enough. By being well-rested every morning, you are helping protect your health and being able to take the full brunt of another hard day at work.

The importance of planning

We spoke about the importance of setting realistic goals but if they are short-term than not much good will come out of them. What you really need is an all-encompassing plan for all the habits you adopt. Only this way will you be able to stick to them for longer periods because you know exactly what to expect in the future. For instance, if you are planning to completely change your diet and go organic, you are going to have to stock the fridge with the necessary food. Since you probably go shopping once a week, you need to plan the food types you will place in the basket. Without such a clear plan, you risk purchasing inadequate items and overspending on them in local supermarkets.

Diversify your diet

Having mentioned the diet, it should be stated that it is an integral part of adopting new healthy habits. In practice, this means that your diet should be diverse and full of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. In other words, the physical activity we spoke of earlier need to be fueled by the food you eat every day. If you think that food cannot be full of protein and healthy at the same time, we assure you are wrong. For instance, an ideal breakfast can consist just of protein oats with added whey to substitute the entire meal. In general, you shouldn’t starve yourself but use similar dietary supplements even if you feel like skipping breakfast or dinner.

The relationship between meaningfulness and focus

Once you successfully put into practice all the healthy habits you wish to, it is time to stick to them for a prolonged period. This is mainly achieved by staying focused all the time but there is a secret to staying focused. Namely, the importance of the goals you have set and their meaningful meaningfulness are the two main factors that will determine whether you stay on the path of healthy living habits. In other words, the goals you have set need to have a deeper meaning for you and they need to serve a concrete purpose.

For instance, if your goal is to walk more don’t just go walking aimlessly around the block but choose to take the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walk instead of driving to buy groceries. Apart from these short-term goals, you can set long term goals and work towards them. Once such goal is working out at the gym twice a week, for instance. A typical workout lasts one hour, but feel free to start with half an hour sessions. As time goes by you can increase the duration of your practice first to 45 minutes and then to a full hour. This will help you stay focused during an activity you find meaningful.

Buddy up

Adopting new habits and losing the old, detrimental ones is easier said than done. That is why we are providing you with advice here on how to develop a strong mindset that will get you most of the way. However, you cannot do everything on your own and little help on the side couldn’t hurt. There are many people who care about you and you can be sure they are ready to be supportive in your efforts to improve your lifestyle. You can tap into this energy source and fully use their logistical, emotional, and tangible support. The latter is perhaps the most important one since you can do well with the gym buddy, for instance. If you decide to go on a diet, it would definitely be nice to share the oats with somebody during breakfast. It is important for your mental health to know that you’re not alone and that other people, whom you care about and who care for you are supporting all your efforts to turn your life around.

Lose the vices

It is more than wordplay if we say that vices take a grip on us, refusing to let go no matter how much we try to shake them off. You can hardly expect to permanently alter your lifestyle if you cannot beat your inner demons, so losing all the vices is a necessity if you wish to create healthy habits. Also, when you come to think about it, smoking cigarettes and physical activity definitely don’t go well together. Furthermore, alcohol abuse has a negative impact on the body, causing drowsiness and preventing us from thinking clearly. Without the ability to focus, we cannot expect to realise a single goal we have set.

Don’t forget to enjoy

Yes, it is hard to create healthy habits and to stick to them for a longer. But you would not be doing this if they weren’t a huge reward waiting for you at the end. This reward might seem trivial at first but it is beyond reach many people, so you can consider yourself lucky to have attained it. Basically, if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you will learn to be happy, which has practically become a luxury in the modern world. Since happiness stands at the end of the long path you need to take to reach it, you really shouldn’t forget to enjoy each and every stage, regardless of how painful they are.

You might have concluded by now that creating healthy habits and sticking to them is a long-term process that involves a lot of focus and mental and physical activity. We firstly have to be motivated enough and stay focus from the beginning to the end if we wish to alter our lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating properly are just some of the activities that we have to incorporate into our daily schedule in order to stay healthy.

Fiona Adams is a freelance lifestyle writer inspired by travelling and colourful world around her. Different cultures, people and food make her want to stay on the road forever. Follow: Facebook, Twitter

Comments (1)

  • Jason

    May 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Hey, Mandi.

    Your point on “Buddy Up” Is something I find very solid.

    Truth is, making healthy choices and sticking to it is not an easy fit. If you’ve read about people being able to quit an addiction, you would easily relate to the impact of having a support system to ensure support and accountability.

    The work becomes much easier, when you have people with the same goal on your side.

    Thanks for sharing this Mandi,

    Regards,
    Jason.

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