How to Create (and stick to!) Healthy Habits
It’s 2018! Time to implement our resolutions and make those healthy changes. If this is the year you want to truly improve your health and change yourself, read on! We are committed to offering supportive products and tips to make you the best version of yourself this year, and for years to come.
It’s long been said that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but according to this research, three weeks is a myth and it actually takes up to 66 days (10 weeks) to form an actual habit. A habit is defined as a behaviour you perform automatically based on having done it frequently in the past. Common habits we share as adults are brushing teeth, washing hands, turning your turn signal on in traffic, and the list goes on… but remember how these were all tasks we had to consciously learn, and be reminded to do when we were first starting out? Creating healthy diet and lifestyle habits is no different. We need to define clear goals, stick to a plan, and be patient with ourselves while we’re trying out these new behaviours.
Here are three tips to help you create healthy habits that stick – and not just in the short-term:
- Write your goals down. By writing your goals down, you can see them clearly and then break them up into specific habits you’ll need to acquire in order to reach each goal. For example: my goal is to lose ten pounds, so I need to be in the habit of eating two salads every day, going to the gym four times a week, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Whatever the goal, think through what behaviours someone who’s mastered that goal would have to have. Think of people you admire for their fitness or lifestyle or whatever attribute it is you desire, and imagine a day in the life of that individual and what activities and behaviours they must perform in order for them to be in that position or level of health.
- Get all your vitamins and minerals! Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients for all that they do in the body: they maintain bones; heal wounds; support the immune system; repair cells; and convert food into energy. Without an adequate source of vitamins and minerals, you won’t be functioning optimally, and you won’t be able to invest the additional energy it takes to forge new patterns and implement healthy changes. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to ingest your vitamins and minerals (directly from your food), but often even when eating a healthy diet, we need some “backup” support from supplements. Vitamin supplements are an excellent item to incorporate into your daily routine for optimal health and to ensure you’ve covered all your bases nutritionally. Visit our products page for information on what supplements might work for you.
- Use the strategy of “crowding out.” Rather than subtracting foods you want to eliminate from your diet, focus on adding healthy foods instead. If you’re trying to eat less dessert, then rather than cutting what you love to eat out completely and replacing it with nothing, try having less chocolate cake, and more green grapes. Each time you crave chocolate cake, have a little less cake than you normally would and a few more grapes. The idea here is to “crowd out” the not-so-healthy items with healthy options, until you start naturally reaching for the grapes instead of the chocolate cake. This strategy goes counter to the “cold turkey” method of eliminating something from your diet completely, but so often this method of restriction leads to having a relapse and resorting to your old ways. Crowding out can be applied to other areas of your life as well (exercise, lifestyle, what you talk about), not just food. What we’re after with crowding out is sustainable change: creating habits within the 66 day time frame that will last well into your future.
We hope these tips are helpful in creating the lasting change you desire! If you have any more strategies on how to create habits that stick, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. May 2018 be your best year yet!